Romanian TV Shows Have Bad Influence on Children
UNICEF Romania, the National Audiovisual Council (NAC) and the Centre for Media Studies and New Communication Technologies at the University of Bucharest today launched a study on TV violence and its effects on children.
The report gives a clear picture of violent content in TV programmes and makes a classification of the frequency, duration and intensity of violent scenes that can be seen on different TV channels. The research aims at making the general public aware of the impact media violence has on children and the responsibility of the family, the school and the mass-media to protect young viewers.
A number of TV channels – TVR1, ProTV, Acasă, Antena 1, Antena 3, Realitatea TV, Prima TV, OTV, Cartoon Network, Jetix and Minimax – were studied. Results show that the average number of violent scenes that can be watched in one hour of TV broadcast (excluding commercials and promo images) varies from 9 on TVR1 to 23.4 on ProTV. Cartoon networks recorded even higher values, varying from 20 violent scenes on Minimax to 37 on Jetix.
OTV channel was found to have the longest duration of violent acts on the air: 22.6 of 60 broadcast minutes (excluding commercials and promo images). At the opposite end, we find Acasa TV, with 3.6 minutes.
An act of violence lasts an average of 60 seconds on OTV (the highest value recorded) and 20 seconds on Prima TV (the lowest value recorded). As far as cartoon networks are concerned, the average duration of a violent scene is of 15 seconds on Cartoon Network, 11 seconds on Jetix and 10 seconds on Minimax.
“NAC will show zero tolerance to any deviation from audio visual legislation on TV/radio stations, especially since some channels might think of adding violent content to their shows for the purpose of boosting their audience during the economic crisis” declared Răsvan Popescu, President of NAC.
It is worth mentioning that verbal violence accounts for 44% of all violent acts, followed by physical violence, with 33.6% of all acts on the air. An important issue with regard to the effects on children is the fact that almost a quarter of these acts occur in a domestic context.
"In the society of screens, children are growing up in a world of TV and virtual communication which becomes their reality. A consequence of this is the risk of not knowing right from wrong anymore ", stated Professor Ioan Drăgan PhD, Director of the Centre for Media Studies and New Communication Technologies of the University of Bucharest, who coordinated the study.
A factor that impacts on children is the fact that nearly 44% of the time the media fail to present the effects of violent acts on the victim, and in 66% of the cases they fail to show the consequences of violent acts on the perpetrator. “Too much violence on television makes children immune and indifferent to the horrors of violence. If they watch TV characters that kill and hurt others all the time, children can lose their ability of separating real-life violence from simulated violence on the screen. Such shows can mislead children into believing that violence is a means to solve problems, so they imitate what they see on TV”, declared the UNICEF Romania Representative, Edmond McLoughney.
This research was undertaken as a follow-up of the first study on this issue from 2004 and it indicates an increase in the number of violent acts that can be seen on TV programmes in Romania.