Television, Imagination, and Aggression: A Study of Preschoolers

Television, Imagination, and Aggression: A Study of Preschoolers

Television, Imagination, and Aggression: A Study of Preschoolers

Television, Imagination, and Aggression: A Study of Preschoolers

Excerpt

It is possible that the television set now established in 99% of homes in the United States may actually be changing human consciousness and the nature of our cognitive development? We put the proposition in its boldest form because we think behavioral scientists (along with many intellectuals in the humanities) have preferred to ignore the "idiot box" that sits in the living rooms, bedrooms, or kitchens of millions of homes, peered at for at least three hours daily by milions of children and adults. We are now into the second generation of regular TV-viewers in this country; the fans of "Howdy-Doody" and "Miss Frances," the "Mouseketeers," the kids who bought coonskin hats in the millions after watching "Davey Crockett" are now many of them parents and their children are growing up watching even more television, much of it in vivid color. Behavioral scientists have occasionally decried the amount of violence represented on the 19 in. screen and have in the past decade begun studying the effects of such material on overt behavior, especially in children. They have paid less attention, on the whole, to other issues concerning the impact of the medium--its cognitive implications, its role in forming constructive social attitudes, its potential for educational use, not just providing information but in enhancing the emergence of cognitive skills that the growing child can draw on independent of the TV medium for effective adaptation and learning.

Children are growing up today in an environment that includes an element of daily visual stimulation never before a part of human experience. Three- and four-year-olds get up at 6:30 a.m. and go over to a little box on which they . . .

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