School Violence On TV: Should Children Watch or Not?

The depictions on the news of school violence on television are not new. A comparison to a generation ago might find you in sensory shock however, that so many incidents of school violence are being portrayed on the television in the news is disheartening and a cause for concern. Many parents, teachers and others are now questioning should children watch school violence on television or not.  

From a clinical standpoint, exposing elementary aged school children to school violence on television can cause them to develop unnatural fears about going to school or violence at their own school. Those who want to play the devil’s advocate in areas where school violence is high say that allowing children to watch it on television help to fortify what parents and teachers are already emphasizing about staying out of trouble and stepping forward to report incidents of school violence.

Clearly there are two sides to the coin and each side has a different perception and argument of whether or not children should watch school violence on television whether it is in their own school, neighborhood, across the country or around the other side of the world. Those who are against children seeing school violence agree that often times the children do not know how to interpret what they have heard and seen by the media, whose job it is to create sensationalism when they report details.  

The bottom line is that there are opinions of all sorts regarding the subject. The choice, however, remains primarily with the parents. Anti-violence programs are being implemented in schools everywhere to help children cope with violence that is seen in schools all around them. The good news is that these programs are helping many children to distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to school violence. Some television shows depict the violence in school as not only common place but give it a glamorous angle because the crimes are committed by attractive young people.

We know that some violence has come to bear as a result of other violence in schools that was shown on television. One teen even acknowledged the Columbine killers as mentors in the school violence he subsequently created by randomly shooting at his own high school. This incident alone supports the notion that children should not be allowed to witness school violent acts on television and that such eyewitness accounts should be limited in the information presented to the general public.  

As far as freedom of information is concerned, it makes perfect sense to keep children informed about their rights, of how to protect themselves and of the resources available to them. But when it comes to showing them school violence on television, although the jury is still out with many people, there are growing numbers who believe it’s a definite no no.