Television Use in America
- Nielsen Media Research reports that 99% of American households have a television set.
- American children spend an average of four hours a day watching television that is 28 hours a week,
2,400 hours a year and nearly 18,000 hours by the time they graduate from high school. In
comparison, they spend only 13,000 hours in school, from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Violence on American Television
- American television is the most violent in the world. About 60% of TV programs contain violence. An
hour of prime-time television includes about five violent acts.1 An hour of children's Saturday morning
programming includes 20 to 26 violent acts.
- The average American child will witness 12,000 violent acts on television each year, amounting to
about 200,000 violent acts by the time he turns 18 years old.
- Violent programming on the four broadcast networks has increased 14% in the past five years. In
1998, 67% of broadcast programs contained violence. In the same year, 87% of cable programs
- Only 4% of violent programs emphasize an anti-violence theme.
Influence of TV Violence on Children
- The National Television Violence Study identifies three primary effects TV violence has on children: 1)
learning aggressive attitudes and behaviors; 2) becoming desensitized to real world violence; and 3)
developing a fear of being victimized by violence.
- Young children, especially under age seven, often cannot distinguish reality from fantasy on television.
However, they are capable of imitating and learning from violence in cartoons.
- In a University of Illinois study, people who had watched the most violent TV between birth and age
eight committed the most serious crimes by age 30.
- A national opinion poll shows that 80% of Americans believe television violence is harmful to society.
- Out of all possible media influences, parents are most concerned with what their children see on
- In a 1999 survey taken by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 77% of the parents said they would use a V-
chip often if they had one.
1 Violence is "any overt depiction of a credible threat of physical force or the actual use of such force intended to physically harm an animate being or group of beings," including harmful consequences of unseen violence. Mediascope National Television Violence Study