COVER PAGE HOW DOES MEDIA AFFECT KIDS? Student: Supervisor: HOW DOES MEDIA AFFECT KIDS? There has been an on-going debate whether or not media influences a child’s behavior. There isn’t a doubt that the media has an impact on a child, but is it so influential that it can make a child do something that they would have never thought of doing until they see it on the television? According to Dr. Susan Villani (1999), there is a significant amount of evidence linking behavioral effects of repeated exposure to media violence.
The purpose of this study is to determine if in fact the media does influence a child’s behavior. A total of 25 Pershing Elementary School students in the before and after school program, participated in this study. They were observed prior, during, and post a Tom & Jerry video clip. After observing their behaviors post the video clip, each child was asked 2 questions based on their everyday television watching habits. It was found that television does influence a child’s behavior. Although, the results indicate that there wasn’t a significant difference between the pre-video and during-video behaviors.
Further implications and limitations of these results are to be found in the paper. Whether the media affects a child’s behavior is a question that has been asked over and over again. Many people, to this day, are still debating whether a child is truly influenced by the media. There is no doubt that the media has an impact on a child, but does it really influence them to act out even though they know it’s wrong? Is the media that influential that it can make a child do something they would never think of doing, if not seen on the television?
According to Dr. Susan Villani (1999), “there is an established body of evidence documenting the troubling behavioral effects of repeated exposure to media violence. ” Many psychologists will agree that the media has become more and more harmful to the younger generations. For instance, Dr. Ruth Mock (1970), states, “television is the one influence, common to us all today, which replaces the social, religious, and political meetings and festivals which were potent expressions in the past. ”
In spite of this strong evidence, broadcasters and scientists continue to debate the link between viewing TV violence and children’s aggressive behaviour. Some broadcasters believe that there is not enough evidence to prove that TV violence is harmful. But scientists who have studied this issue say that there is a link between TV violence and aggression, and in 1992, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Television and Society published a report that confirms this view. The report, entitled Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society, shows that the harmful effects of TV violence do exist.
Violence is a credible threat of physical force, or the application of physical force, intended to cause physical harm to an animate being or group of beings. The important things to note are that there needs to be intent to hurt and that the hurt is inflicted on living things rather than objects. Violence in the media is easily accessible to children. It occurs in cartoons, in news updates during family programs, in the news, in televised sporting events, and in “blockbuster’ movies screened at 8. 30pm on TV.
Previews for forthcoming movies on the, parents often feel ambushed by these as they cannot be anticipated. We often find we have let into our homes through our TV screens what we would never let in through our front door. While most scientists are convinced that children can learn aggressive behavior from television, they also point out that parents have a tremendous power to moderate that influence. Parents can minimize exposure to programs and products which feature glamorized violence, or ban certain programs altogether, and they also can minimize exposure to news programs for children under 11 or 12 years.
These children are unlikely to understand that “it isn’t likely to happen to you” as they do not understand probability The influence of media on children extends to health related issues. Although television has the power to educate on nutrition, exercise, and a wide variety of health related issues, it can also be a negative force through images and advertisements which influence viewers to make poor food choices or to overeat. In addition, excessive television viewing can result in inactivity which further contributes to excessive weight gain and poor fitness levels.
Children are specifically targeted by some advertisements and are even more vulnerable than adults to their influence. Adults must assist children in questioning and thinking critically about the messages they see on TV. Limiting television viewing time and encouraging physical activity are precautions that parents should consider. In the argument that the media is educational, Dr. Susan Villani (2001), “…media education may result in young people becoming less vulnerable to negative aspects of media exposure. Research has found that television enhances a child’s imagination. Television puts new ideas into children’s heads causing them to create a whole new set of ideas. According to Teresa Belton, author of the journal article, Media, Culture, ; Society, believes that written fiction like action adventure, crime, romance, horror, and science fiction can be as much of a genre as television and film. Researchers have found that children with a high aptitude of imagination pulled their ideas from books and/or their own lives to create their own “made-up” stories (Belton, 2001).
With that in mind, the purpose of this study is to find out if the media does in fact affect the way a child behaves and how much television it takes to create this behavior. To conclude, the purpose of this study was to observe children while interacting with other children pre, post, and during a video clip of Tom ; Jerry. Each child was assessed by his/her actions as well as answering a few questions after the video clip was shown. Based on children’s actions and the amount of television he/she watches, I concluded that television has an influence on them.
Results of this study indicate that media does have an impact on a child’s behavior and in fact can alter his/her behavior as shown by a cartoon. This study clearly supports the idea of television having a negative impact on a child’s behavior (Villani, 2001). One limitation to this study would be the length of time the children were observed during the video clip. The children were only observed 20-30 seconds while the cartoon was actually being shown. Whereas, the amount of time the children were observed for the pre and post video was 15-20 minutes.
Thus, comparisons between the during and pre-post condition are confounded. This limitation may also limit the generality. If this study were to be done again in the future I would suggest that a video clip of a unknown cartoon should be used. I suggest this because then the chances of the children expecting something to happen is lessen due to the unfamiliarity of it. References Belton, T. (2001). Television and imagination: An investigation of the medium’s influence on children’s story-making. Media, Culture, ; Society, 23, 799-820.
Lisosky, J. M. (2001). For all kid’s sakes: comparing children’s television policy-making in Australia, Canada, and the United States. Media, Culture, ; Society, 23, 821-842. Mock, R. (1970). Education and the imagination. London: Chatton and Windus. Villani, S. (1999). Violence in the media. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,38,1208. Villani, S. (2001). Impact of media on children and adolescents: A 10-year review of the research. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,40 392-401.