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Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke has called on parents to be more vigilant about what their children are allowed to watch on television, as increased displays of violence via this medium could directly and indirectly affect their behaviour and overall development.
Mrs. Clarke was speaking at the Broadcasting Commission’s content standards workshop held at the Knutsford Court Hotel yesterday (Nov. 30). She said that what children were exposed to on television had two types of effects on them: “direct effect due to the content being broadcasted and the second is the indirect effect due to the activity of watching”. “Children mimic what they see and what they hear. When they see violence and aggression they mimic those patterns of behaviour, it is natural for them. When they continue to see acts of violence, and acts of aggression many of them become less sensitive to pain and suffering,” Mrs. Clarke stated. She added that when children saw violence on television they become insensitive to the pain and suffering of others and may become fearful of the world that they live in. “Parents you have a responsibility to monitor what your children are watching on the television. You have a responsibility to put controls on your cable channels so that when you are not at home, and when you go out at nights, the children will not be able to watch certain channels,” Mrs. Clarke stressed. The Children’s Advocate said increased access to violence on television would lead to increased physiological arousal and trigger a tendency to imitate observed behaviour.
“Long term effects include belief in the role of aggression in the society. It just becomes natural to them and a part of life as they have become so indoctrinated and literally brainwashed into the importance of violence and aggression through what they had seen on television,” Mrs. Clarke added. She said that violence has had a negative effect on children by causing the levels of attendance in schools to fall, poorer school achievements, less satisfactory behaviour, and poor general attitude. The Children’s Advocate said she was encouraging the media to follow the broadcasting code that is stipulated by the Commission. “There is too much violence and aggression in the society and we all must do all we can to seek to reduce the levels of violence and aggression. Please promote positive images as our young people need some positive images to help to influence their development,” Mrs. Clarke added. She cautioned television stations to be guarded in what they sanction, glorify, and glamorize and what they promote to the public.