Preschoolers are vulnerable to violence shown on television because they ‘are predisposed to seek out and pay attention to violence particularly cartoon violence,’ says a recent Canadian study. But their fascination is not so much with the violence as with the ‘accompanying vivid production features’ of the shows.
Television Violence: A Review of the Effects on Children of Different Ages examines how the depiction of violence on TV influences children from birth to age 17. The paper, published by the Department of Canadian Heritage, also suggests how parents and the television industry can curb children’s exposure to violence in programming.
Still, notes the paper, by about eight years old, children ‘will not become more aggressive themselves if the violence they see is portrayed as evil, as causing human suffering, or as resulting in punishment or disapproval.’
But that’s not typically the case, according to the National Television Violence Study from the U.S., released just last month. In fact, in nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all violent scenes, perpetrators go unpunished. And just four percent of violent programs deliver an anti-violence message.
The study, funded by the National Cable Television Association, involved viewing about 2,500 hours of television from 2,693 programs. Shows were chosen from 23 channels over a 20-week period. Mediascope of Studio City, California, and scholars from American universities conducted the research.
To find out more about the Canadian publication, fax Health Canada at (613) 941-8930. For information about the U.S. study, call Mediascope at (818) 508-2080 .