ERIC Number: ED343186
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov-3
Reference Count: N/A
AIDS Information in Children's Television Programs.
Netzhammer, Emile C.
A study analyzed the potential rhetorical impact of AIDS-related television programming directed at preadolescents. The four programs selected for the study were all submitted in the children's television category of the Peabody Awards competition for the 1987-1988 season. They are (1) an episode of the PBS children's documentary series "3-2-1 Contact" entitled "I Have AIDS: A Teenager's Story"; (2) "An Enemy among Us," a CBS production; (3) "Just a Regular Kid: An AIDS Story," produced as an after-school special; and (4) "Ready To Go!" a Boston talk show for children. The analysis found similarities within the programs. All of the AIDS victims profiled were white, male teenagers, shown as healthy, highly active high school students. No character was represented as visibly sick, dying, or dead, and the seriousness of the disease was deemphasized. None of the AIDS victims in the programs was gay or an intravenous drug user. AIDS experts were portrayed similarly in the programs, generally only as doctors. Transmission of the disease was discussed simply and gently. Each program promoted prosocial attitudes toward people with AIDS. The research leads to the conclusion that the patterns established in television programs have important implications for children's understanding of AIDS. Seventeen references are attached. (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Controversial Topics; Health Communication; Television Criticism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (77th, Atlanta, GA, October 31-November 3, 1991).