Children and Television: Fifty Years of Research

Children and Television: Fifty Years of Research

Children and Television: Fifty Years of Research

Children and Television: Fifty Years of Research


Children and Television includes studies of content, effects, and policy, and offers research conducted by social scientists and cultural studies scholars. The research questions represented here consider the content of programming, children's responses to television, regulation concerning children's television policies, issues of advertising, and concerns about sex and race stereotyping, often voicing concerns that children's entertainment be held to a higher standard. The volume also offers essays by scholars who have been seeking answers to some of the most critical questions addressed by this research. It represents the interdisciplinary nature of research on children and television, and draws on many academic traditions, including communication studies, psychology, sociology, education, economics, and medicine.


Most scholarly books that become “classics” do so after years of use by generations of teachers and learners. But occasionally a book comes along that was born to be a classic. Such is Pecora, Murray, and Wartella’s Children and Television: Fifty Years of Research.

What is the basis of this claim?

1. Consider the chapter authors. The case could well be made that the senior scholar of each chapter is the respective “dean” of his or her specialized field of inquiry. I may get in trouble for revealing the relative antiquity of so many of my academic heroes who are represented in this esteemed group of scholars, but the research programs they represent have, indeed, been “decades in the making.” For many years, these dedicated scholars have fostered the best of programmatic research in their respective domains of inquiry into television and children.

2. The moment is propitious. Sufficient time has expired to permit a comprehensive assessment of the field. Looked at from the perspective of more timeworn disciplines within the academy, 50 years is a relatively short life span; however, it is sufficient to permit the aggregation of a reliable, revealing body of literature. The last few years have witnessed numerous meta-analyses, major specialty handbooks, and other forms of productive synthesis within the mass communication discipline. The chapters in this . . .

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