Study Finds 75% Increase in T.V. Violence

The Parents Television Council (PTC), a non-profit organization that focuses on family-friendly television programming, recently conducted a study on television violence and found that television violence has increased 75 percent since 1998.

The study, titled “Dying to Entertain,” focused on the six major broadcasting networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, UPN, and WB), and found an average of 4.41 instances of violence per hour during prime time.

This increase in aggression may pose a threat to children who are allowed to watch primetime programming and mimic what they see.

The study notes that “violence on television continues unabated despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to a direct and causal relationship between violent entertainment products and aggressive behavior in children.”

In the past, the entertainment industry had tried to reconcile the problem by introducing the V-chip. With it, programs would be rated on the amount of violent and sexual content they contain, and children would not be able to view particular shows that went above a certain degree of inappropriate material.

However, the PTC argues that these devices are ineffective and insufficient. They state that eight out of ten programs with violent or sexual behavior did not receive the V or S content descriptors.

The PTC now urges for more effective precautions, including proposing legislation to curb television violence.

Other major findings in the study also include:

• Violence increased in every time slot during primetime.
• ABC experienced the greatest increase in violent incidents with a 309 percent increase.
• Sexual elements are becoming increasingly prevalent in violent scenes.
• Fox and UPN were the only networks to have a decreased amount of violence during the “family hour,” 8-9 p.m.
• Nearly half (49 percent) of all episodes aired during the study had at least one incidence of violence.
• On a per-hour basis, NBC’s 10 p.m. programming averaged 14.69 instants of violence, the highest of any hour.
• CBS had the highest percentage of deaths depicted on screen.

The study was conducted over the years 1998-2006. It also includes information gathered in an earlier report titled “TV Bloodbath,” which documented television violence over the years 1998, 2000, and 2002.