Just blame it on television

When most people learn about an event they deem “violent,” such as a school shooting, a terrorist attack, cruelty to animals and so on, their standard reaction seems to be: “oh it’s TV’s fault — all those violent movies!” or something on the lines thereof.

I disagree.

Imagine a society in which small children had everything they needed in order to survive (i.e. food, warmth, shelter) but they would be completely separated from and unaware of the existence of adults. No television, no grown-ups, no “negative” influences. One could say that an utopian society would rise as these children grow. I don’t think so. I believe that at some point leaders, groups, a power structure and all the inherent problems will appear, including fights and violence.

We invented it, so don’t blame TV.

4 Responses to Just blame it on television

  1. Alex Railean says:

    I believe that at some point leaders, groups, a power structure and all the inherent problems will appear, including fights and violence.

    It depends on the configuration of the simulation (-:

    In the case of human evolution, leaders, groups and hierarchies were the result of problems. We needed food – so someone had to hunt. Hunters needed weapons. Someone had to collect raw materials for the blacksmiths, etc. A leader would be someone who could picture the process from A to Z in their minds (or creative folks, who were not afraid to experiment) and coordinate others’ efforts.

    If this “children only” world is perfectly crafted in a way that they get everything they need (and the supply is moderated) – I am not sure they’d get violent right away. Not until they grow up and a cute girl becomes a “critical resource” (i.e. she can be only with one boy at a time); at that point things could get tricky; it also depends on how we define ‘violence’ (I think coming up with a good definition is not an easy task).

    But again, the idea is that a conflict occurs when the supply/demand equilibrium is lost. If we succeed in absolute control of physical attraction and emotions… I can’t make a prediction right now.

    The TV is definitely not the thing to blame. Most often these excuses come from incompetent parents. If TVs are that bad, how come you, the perfect parent, didn’t isolate your kid from TV? or didn’t moderate the dosage of TV sessions? Substitute “TV” with “video game”, “Internet” – you get the same effect.

    I think the trick is in being a good parent, and teaching your kid to tell right from wrong. If that doesn’t happen, then of course children will be influenced by television; whether they watch Discovery and become smarter, or watch Nickelodeon and dumb themselves – depends on the ‘almighty randomizer’.

    A practical example – a couple of thousands years ago someone wasn’t able to discern reality from fiction, and now one of our society’s primary building blocks is religion /me ducks

  2. Constantin says:


    I didn’t make that clear: the kids grow up, it’s just that they are supposedly isolated from all the “evils” of society (AKA a fresh start).

    Conflicts and violence are two different things; I meant that since they didn’t fall from the sky, we shouldn’t look for their origins anywhere but inside ourselves.

    I think even in a perfectly fine-tuned society (from a supply-demand point of view), conflicts will eventually arise for the simple reason that people are different. And of course we *want* to be different or else [insert favorite dystopian scenario here].

  3. adam says:

    I to am tired of tv getting blamed for violence, etc. Throw video games in the same boat. In the scenario you paint, I do think that eventually the results would be the same. Humans are flawed by nature. Ever wonder why as children, we have to be taught to do right and not wrong?

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