America has a history of accepting violence and exposing children to violent content. Many of the most popular films, TV shows, video games and even books rely heavily on depictions of violence. Because children as so exposed to these, they end up learning to accept violence, finding it masculine and foundational to freedom and individual rights as the culture dictates.
Education is important because it gives us knowledge to better understand the world around us, shaping our thoughts and actions. But it becomes problematic when it conveys dangerous notions, such as, “guns don’t kill people,” or “discrimination against gays is a matter of religious freedom,” notions that many people accept blindly and later struggle to let them go.
According to the American Psychological Association, children who watch violent programs on TV are more likely to become indifferent to the pain of others, more fearful of the world they live in, and more likely to behave aggressively towards others.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University also found that children as young as preschoolers were significantly affected by watching violent children’s cartoons. They were more likely to hit peers, argue, disobey class rules, and abandon their homework.
This is the power of education in motion. Children assimilate the cultural signs and follow what is presented to them as models to follow. Thus, if they watched less violent, more positive TV shows, these would also make an impression, and incentivize them to behave better.
Education encompasses more than school lessons, books, and parental guidance. It includes the individual’s exposure to the world, and the meaning behind the actions that become common in a certain society. A child growing up in an environment that accepted and defended violence will most likely be more accepting of it than one who was taught otherwise.
With the recent growth in shootings in America, and the desensitization to them every time a new one occurs and no laws are changed, adults and children are taught that these shootings are okay and that they should be considered anomalies. But accepting something, whether willingly or silently, only gives it more space in which to spread. Some people may want to blur this simple idea, but the logical answer to this problem is: the more space and resources for violence, the more violent this country will become.