ERIC Number: ED414078
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Dec
Television Violence: Content, Context, and Consequences. ERIC Digest.
This digest reports recent findings on violent television content, highlights the recently developed television ratings system, and offers suggestions for parental mediation of children's television viewing. The National Television Violence Study has demonstrated that not all violence is equal. Certain plot elements in portrayals of violence are considered high risk for children and should be evaluated by parents. Characterizations in which the perpetrator is attractive are especially problematic because viewers may identify with such a character. Other high-risk factors include showing violence as being justified, going unpunished, and having minimal consequences to the victim. Realistic violence is also among the high-risk plot elements. Based on reviews of social science research, it is possible to predict some effects of violent viewing in conjunction with specific plot elements, including: (1) aggressive behavior; (2) fearful attitudes about the real world; and (3) desensitization to violence. However, just as not all violence is equal, there are distinctions to be made among viewers. Characteristics such as age, experience, cognitive development, and temperament should be considered as individual factors that can interact with the viewing of violent content. To help parents determine the appropriateness of television programs, a ratings system has been developed by the television industry in collaboration with child advocacy organizations. In addition, the following suggestions may help parents reduce the negative effects of viewing television in general and violent television in particular: (1) watch television with your children to monitor what they are watching and to discuss aspects of the programs; (2) turn the program off if a portrayal is upsetting and discuss the reasons for doing so; (3) limit viewing; (4) use television program guides or a VCR for planning and screening viewing; and (5) encourage children to be critical of messages they encounter when watching television. (LPP)
Descriptors: Aggression, Audience Response, Child Behavior, Content Analysis, Context Effect, Critical Viewing, Emotional Response, Fear, Guidelines, Individual Characteristics, Mass Media Effects, Parent Child Relationship, Parent Responsibility, Parent Role, Programming (Broadcast), Television Research, Television Viewing, Violence
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Champaign, IL.