Television and Children: Program Evaluation, Comprehension, and Impact

Television and Children: Program Evaluation, Comprehension, and Impact

Television and Children: Program Evaluation, Comprehension, and Impact

Television and Children: Program Evaluation, Comprehension, and Impact

Synopsis

USE THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH ONLY FOR GENERAL CATALOGS... This book addresses the subject of children and television -- how they view it, what they think of specific programs, and how these likes and dislikes affect learning of the content presented. Broad in coverage, it looks at evaluation, comprehension, and impact in the drama, information and entertainment domains. In all cases, demographic and background experiences and knowledge are assessed for their contribution to learning, attitude/opinion change, and stability as a function of exposure to particular program content. Empirical investigations of police dramas, science programs, and quiz shows are conducted utilizing experimental methods and involving approximately 1,000 children in a series of studies. Related to existing research literature, this work confirms the view of the child/adolescent as an active viewer who is critical, constructive, and capable of learning from the television medium -- even when the program is clearly broadcast as entertainment rather than as education or information. This volume is unique in that it addresses questions of the relation between children and diverse television content in terms of its impact on social and informational schemas.

Excerpt

Television plays an important -- perhaps even a significant -- part in the lives of the vast majority of the population. It is used for many different purposes, by different people, at different times, in different places. It is an easy medium, not only in the sense of being readily available but also in the sense of requiring minimal engagement and interaction. It is also readily responsive to human needs. Thus, viewers can be stimulated or relaxed by it; they can be entertained or horrified by it; they can be educated or intrigued by it; and they can be isolated or "networked" by it. All this at a touch of a button.

That television is a desirable medium is testified to by the presence of one or more sets in more than 98% of households in the United States and the United Kingdom; the presence of a videorecorder in more than 70% of these households; and the great number of hours viewed per day by their owners and their offspring. And yet there seems to be a duplicity of thought concerning this desired and appreciated medium. When one looks at the metaphors employed to describe the functions and operations of television, and adults' interaction with it, they are predominantly pejorative -- "the one-eyed monster," "the uninvited guest," "the plug-in drug," "the boobtube," "the electronic baby sitter," "the goggle box," "the idiot box," "the hypnotist," and "the Trojan horse." Thus, although adults seem to like television, as shown by their behavior activity, they seem to fear it cognitively, as shown by their linguistic behavior. But this apparent duplicity is resolved by noting the asymmetric application of their fears. This is shown by Winn (1977/1985), one of the earliest and most vociferous critics of television. Her barbs were reserved for children and television, not . . .

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