Why Television Wrestling Shows Should Be Banned
Children are oftentimes able to watch television shows depicting violence without the knowledge of their parents. Wrestling shows, despite their self-proclaimed entertainment value, typically involves human violence where one man—and, in some cases, one woman—willingly inflicts physical harm unto another. Verbal abuse is also a usual feature of television wrestling shows. Even though explicit words are oftentimes filtered by “bleeping” them, the foul nature of the language typically used by wrestlers in the show does not entirely make the censorship of the explicit dialogues any better. Due to these common attributes of television wrestling shows, they tend to disrupt the moral growth of children especially those who are able to watch them on a regular basis. There is more to worry about children watching these violent shows than those who are not able to view them at all. As children continue to mentally and emotionally develop, they absorb the things that they are able to perceive. Current censorship measures are simply not enough to stall the possibility of children acting out in real life the things that they see on television wrestling shows. Thus, as far as the welfare of children are concerned, television wrestling shows should be banned from television listings, both from local stations and cable operators.
In an earlier study, it has been found out that “many parents have observed their children mimicking behaviors they’ve observed in films” (Felson, p. 124). The possibility of children mimicking what they see not only in films but also in television shows is never far since both media are generally visual in nature and only differ in several minor aspects. If children imitate what they see in television shows, the results are rather too serious to be deprived of attention: children attempting to leap from tables or chairs onto their siblings; children trying to initiate fights with their friends or playmates; children erupting into a fit of rage in school, spewing foul words towards their schoolmates; and so on. What we have here are the disturbing possibilities that are not without reason to raise concern.
In a more recent report, it has been found that “viewing television violence is associated with aggressive behavior” (Johnson et al., p. 2468). The report does not say as to whether a higher degree of constant viewing of television violence results to more aggressive behavior. Nevertheless, it does bring to mind one compelling thought, which is this: does the report indicate if the viewing of television violence includes the presence of parents with their children? If it does not, it is easy to understand why children display aggressive behaviors. But if it does, it appears that parents themselves are not entirely able to prevent their children from reenacting the things they see on television. It only goes to show that the bigger fault does not solely or largely rely on the parents of these children. Rather, the bigger fault rests on the root of the evil: the wrestling shows on television.
While it is tempting to say that television wrestling shows are typically designed to entertain the older age bracket, they do not isolate the possibility of children being able to watch these shows. Sometimes, parents watch these shows with their children. What is more disheartening is when parents consciously allow their children to watch television wrestling shows with them. An earlier study suggests that “organizing children’s television viewing and direct control of children’s viewing are salient dimensions of family television viewing” (Christopher, Fabes and Wilson, p. 214). If the parents of these children are unable to organize the viewing habits of their children and if they are unable to control their children’s viewing, there is reason to believe that things can only go from bad to worse. For one, the lack of parental guidance on what these children are viewing can distort the children’s perception of what is right from wrong or, at the least, what behaviors are permissible from what actions are harmful to themselves and to others. Moreover, the lack of parental control over what children are viewing on television can further degrade the moral sensibilities of these children; they tend to become confused as to whether what they are watching on television are fit and proper or otherwise. The combination of these two things—lack of parental guidance and parental control—can only contribute to the harmful effects of watching wrestling shows on television.
The degrading effects of watching wrestling shows on television are not only limited to their physical manifestations. Another aspect of their effects rests on the mental faculties of children with regard to their academic pursuits. In a study released in 2001, it has been found out that “girls who were more frequent preschool viewers of violent programs had lower grades than those who were infrequent viewers” (Anderson et al., p. vii). Even if the study does not indicate the effects of frequent viewing of violent programs on preschool boys, it points out the glaring observation that it is highly likely for children to develop poor academic performance in school. That part of the study’s results is not at all surprising. Wrestling shows, being one of the countless shows on television that exhibit violence, do not seek to teach viewers in terms of meaningful and mind-enriching lessons. They do not primarily seek to build the viewer’s mental faculties such as those of creativity and logical reasoning. At best, they only teach to use brute force in almost all means. Since children are still on the stage of learning things from available and immediate sources of information such as the television, exposing them to wrestling shows on television does not provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to advance their proper understanding. For all these reasons, it is only proper to ban wrestling shows from being broadcasted on television.
In “TV and Violence,” author Bharat Dogra suggests that “society should intervene with tougher laws” when it comes to monitoring and controlling the “use and portrayal of violence on television” (Dogra, p. 2198). Apparently, his suggestion bears the semblance of the common argument that, instead of banning violent shows on television, tougher laws should be implemented. Indeed, tougher laws should be truly implemented. It is perhaps a very vital concern that should be raised in the context of television violence. Without laws that control and monitor television violence, there will be a deluge of violent television shows that teach anything but morality.
However, as far as wrestling shows on television are concerned and as it has been discussed, the root of the evil is neither the parents nor the laws. Society can enforce all the rules it wants in order to monitor and control television violence such as violence in wrestling shows, and yet everything boils down to the actual exposure of children to these violent shows right in the comfort of their homes, with or without the accompanying presence of their parents. Laws that censor parts of wrestling shows can only go as far as preventing high violence while still allowing violence in tolerable portions, “tolerable” being dependent on the tastes of the adult viewers and not those of children; the latter can still witness violence in certain shades. Laws that seek to guide the viewing habits of families especially children barely have any teeth, so to speak, from being enforced right in individual homes. The ultimate arbiters are still the parents, which brings us back to square one: what if parents can only care less if their children are able to view violence in wrestling shows on television? What if the parents themselves allow their children to share the same visual and, perhaps, emotional pleasure they get from watching men and women fighting with fists and struggling with their bodies inside a ring that does not discriminate between what is right from what is wrong or what is permissible from what is atrocious? Certainly, wrestling as a sport still has its own rules, but aren’t those rules designed to still allow violence to ensue? Yet again, there can only be one solution in the midst of all these worries: television wrestling shows should be banned.
Anderson, Daniel R., et al. “Early Childhood Television Viewing and Adolescent Behavior: The Recontact Study.” Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 66.1 (2001): i-viii+1-154.
Christopher, F. Scott, Richard A. Fabes, and Patricia M. Wilson. “Family Television Viewing: Implications for Family Life Education.” Family Relations 38.2 (1989): 210-14.
Dogra, Bharat. “TV and Violence.” Economic and Political Weekly 29.34 (1994): 2198.
Felson, Richard B. “Mass Media Effects on Violent Behavior.” Annual Review of Sociology 22 (1996): 103-28.
Johnson, Jeffrey G., et al. “Television Viewing and Aggressive Behavior during Adolescence and Adulthood.” Science 295.5564 (2002): 2468-71.