According to the National Coalition on Television Violence (NCTV) in the US, the average 21 year-old has been bombarded with 10,000 hours of violent programming. The typical 16 year-old has seen 250,000 violent acts including 33,000 dramatised murders as well as tens of thousands of simulated rapes, assaults and shootings.
Dr Thomas Radecki, NCTV President, calculates that "five times as many people were killed by the hero cops in one season of Miami Vice as had been dispatched by the entire Miami Police Force in the previous year. Subliminal message: Violence is heroic; guns, knives and fists are proper problem-solving tools."
Time magazine (12 June 1989) reports that by age 16, the average American child has seen more than 200,000 acts of television violence including 33,000 murders.
In 1987, Teachers College Press at Columbia University catalogued 83 violent acts per hour and an attempted murder every 30 seconds in one of the biggest hits among recent children's cartoons.
The Child Influencers by Dan Adams documents that the average American child watches television more than 31 hours per week.
Washington Post Writers Group, 4 June 1993, quotes Dr Benjamin Spock who says, "Children, especially young ones, will pattern themselves after violent behaviour as easily as they imitate good behaviour. They do not distinguish clearly between the reality of life and the fantasy of television."
The Center for Media and Public Affairs commissioned TV Guide's Neil Hickey to do a study on media violence. He studied one day of television - 2 April 1992 - and reports:
- 1846 individual acts of violence - purposeful, overt, deliberate behaviour using physical force against other individuals;
- 175 scenes resulting in one or more fatalities;
- 389 scenes depicting serious assaults
- 362 scenes involving gunplay;
- 673 depictions of punching, pushing, shoving, dragging and other physically hostile acts;
- 226 scenes of menacing threats with a weapon.
Australian children age 5 - 12 watch TV for 2 hours and 36 minutes each day and are being taught that violence is an acceptable means of settling disputes. (Neilsen, 19 August 1995)
US Public television's Michael Medved, in his book "Hollywood versus America" says, "More than 3000 research projects and scientific studies between 1960 and 1992 have confirmed the connection between a steady diet of violent entertainment and aggressive and antisocial behaviour."
TV Guide's Neil Hickey concludes, "The overwhelming weight of scientific opinion now holds that television violence is indeed responsible for a percentage of the real violence in society."
Past President of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr Brandon Centerwall, addressing their 1991 annual meeting in Illinois, stated "TV and film violence is the cause of fully 50% of the crime and violence in our society..." He estimates there would be "10,000 fewer murders, 70,000 fewer rapes, 1 million fewer motor vehicle thefts, 2.5 million fewer burglaries and 10 million fewer larcenies here each year if not for violent TV and film entertainment."
Dr Centerwall parallels the rise of violent crime in society with the proliferation of television crime. He published studies in 1991 documenting that areas of the US that received TV earlier than other areas actually had earlier increases in murder and property crime rates. "It was the children exposed to the television violence of the 50's and 60's who later fuelled the initial dramatic increase in murder, up by over 100%, and property crime, up by over 300% per capita."
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) "television violence leads to aggressive behaviour in children and teens." The NIMH conclusion was the final result of an analysis of more than 2,500 studies on television violence.
Despite all of the weight of the scientific community's exhaustive research coming to the conclusion that TV violence does indeed cause violence in the community, our chief censor, Mr John Dickie says, "...the biggest cause of violence was family upbringing with media influence at the bottom of the list." (Tasmanian Mercury 30 January 1993)
Despite the fact that network television in Australia contains more sex and violence than US TV, Dr Patricia Edgar, director of the Australian Children's Television Foundation calls children's television "too sanitised" in Australia and in direct contradiction to the overwhelming bulk of scientific opinion worldwide says, "I fear there is a perception that television violence causes violence in the community..." (Sunday Telegraph, 5 March 1995)
In order to protect those who are given the task of censoring the nation's media from psychological desensitisation, AFF is calling for immediate term limits to be initiated and for competent professionals to be appointed to the OFLC.