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Mixed Messages

Kids engaging in antisocial behavior on TV often come out ahead, says one of the findings in a study of content analysis on entertainment television sponsored by the California-based non-profit organization Children Now....
March 1, 1996

Kids engaging in antisocial behavior on TV often come out ahead, says one of the findings in a study of content analysis on entertainment television sponsored by the California-based non-profit organization Children Now.

The study, based on analysis of weekday morning and afternoon, prime-time, and Saturday morning broadcasts of children’s entertainment television in the U.S. on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, USA, Nickelodeon, and Disney cable channels, concluded that television is sending mixed messages to children. While positive pro-social behaviors, such as cooperation and helping others, are most often rewarded, several significant forms of anti-social behavior, such as physical agression, deceit, and verbal aggression, are also shown to be effective. (Physical aggression yielded positive results 53 percent of the time.)

And TV children aren’t dealing with real-life issues. The study reports that less than 12 percent of kids on television are shown confronting important real-life issues and instead are motivated by peer relationships, sports and hobbies, and romance. (The lowest ranking three are community, school-related issues and lastly, religion or spirituality.)

For more information, contact Children Now at (800) CHILD-44.

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