Children Television Viewing and Antisocial Behavior: Does the Duration of Exposure Matter?

Article excerpt


Media violence is related to media presentation of aggressive and violent behaviour directed at characters in the media story. Specifically, researchers have identified evidence that children's exposure to television violence is directly related to immediate and later aggressive behaviour. The relationship between television exposure and students; aggression behavior has not been studied extensively in Iranian elementary students. The purpose of this study was to assess the relative effects of television exposure on aggression behaviour among elementary students in Iran.A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 424 primary school students (aged 7-12 years) in the five provinces of Iran which selected trough a multi-stage random sampling from different geographical areas comprising of North, South, West, East and central area of Iran. This survey investigated whether exposure to television program was related to children's use of social aggression that explored using Buss- Perry standard questionnaire. The results of the study revealed a significant relationship between amount of exposure to television program and aggressive behaviours among primary school students (p<0.05). In addition, students' aggression was positively associated with watching movies with action genre (p<0.05). Furthermore students' leisure time filling with television was moderately correlated with their aggression level. The findings suggest that young people's aggressive behaviours may be related to their frequent exposure to television programs and its violent contents. Results of this study suggested the need for further attention on television children's program production to protect them from antisocial behaviours and interventions for violence-exposed children in order to reduce negative outcomes.

Keywords: Aggression, Exposure, Students, Television

1. Introduction

Media violence has been a public concern ever since the 1920s when researchers sought to understand the effects of motion pictures on children (Blumer, 1933; Anderson, 2008; Bratic, 2008; Anderson & Hanson, 2009). With the growth of the television in the 1950s, interest in the effects of media violence increased (Vande berg, Wenner, & Gronbeck, 2004; José Martínez, Prieto, & Farfán, 2006). Especially television, given its preeminent role in mass communication during the second half of the 20th century, has been at the centre of attention from both popular media and researchers. In particular, studies have found evidence that children's exposure to television violence is positively related to immediate and later aggressive behaviour (Huesmann et al., 2003). There is worldwide public health concern at increases in aggressive behaviours and acts of violence by children and young people (World Health Organization, 2002). Health professionals sometimes give advice, including psycho-education about contributory environmental factors, on managing aggression in children and young people. Professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Paediatrics (1984), have drawn attention to possible links between viewing violence within entertainment media, such as television and such behaviour (Mitrofan et al., 2009). There is no doubt that television has an impact on all of us, especially on children (Grimes et al., 2008). Childhood aggression can be a serious problem particularly among children who exhibit aggression across time and contexts (Bendersky et al., 2006) as they are more likely to exhibit future juvenile delinquency (Hinton et al., 2003) and violent offending (Broidy et al., 2003; bendersky et al.,2006). It is known that even brief exposure to violent movies scenes causes significant increases in aggression in both children and adults (Bushman and Huesmann, 2001). When children are repeatedly exposed to media violence they have an increased likelihood of becoming aggressive adolescents (Bushman and Huesmann, 2001). As such, exposure to media violence is a significant risk factor for youth. …