Television and Children: A Review of Recent Research

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ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources, Syracuse University, 1987 - Aggressiveness in children - 66 pages
This review of recent empirical research on the effects of television on children and teenagers begins by examining the results of two surveys which were conducted to determine the opinions of experts in the field. A brief statement of the findings indicates that experts generally agree that television harms formal scholastic achievement while providing general knowledge; that it has contributed to misperceptions about sex roles, ethnic groups, and politics; that it has increased aggressive behavior; and that it has increased the degree to which children behave as consumers. Empirical evidence is then examined to determine whether or not this evidence supports what the experts say. Seven areas are considered: (1) time use (the time children spend watching television); (2) the viewing experience; (3) knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions (defined as a wide range of cognitions that television may influence among children and teenagers); (4) viewing's impact on violence and sex roles; (5) scholastic achievement; (6) advertising; and (7) behavior (the physical actions and sequences of physical action that arguably could be said to be influenced by television). It is noted that there is a large, if varied, body of empirical evidence now available on this topic which variously supports, qualifies, calls into question, or has little to say about the opinions of the experts. On the whole, it is concluded that, although the research to date is highly informative in many respects, it is only moderately informative about the accuracy of the experts. (There are 249 references.) (EW)

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