The anti-social and aggressive behaviors noted in this study's data included observations about cheating, being mean to others, feeling no regret, being destructive, disobedience at school and having trouble with teachers.
In the study, television programming such as football, many cartoons and titles like Power Rangers, Star Wars, Space Jam and Spider Man were all classed as violent entertainment because characters fight or flee from violent situations, laugh or cheer as they rejoice in violent acts, and show more violence than would be expected in the everyday life of a child. Even G-rated films intended for children can be filled with violence and classed as violent entertainment, according to this definition. By contrast, shows considered non-violent included programs like Toy Story, Flintstones and Rugrats. A third category of educational programming was also reviewed, such as Barney, Sesame Street, Magic School Bus and Winnie-the-Pooh. Significantly, the correlation to later aggressive and anti-social behaviors in boys only appeared with those shows and programming rated as violent.
It has long been suspected that television, media and entertainment have a great impact on the development of children. "We now recognize that content is key," said Christakis. "Given the media saturated world that young children now inhabit, we need further research and policies to ensure that media exerts a positive influence on children."
In a related companion journal article appearing in the same issue of
Pediatrics called "Association Between Content Types of Early Media
Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems," the same researchers found
that for children under age 3, each hour per day spent watching violent
television was associated with approximately twice the risk of attention
problems five years lat
|SOURCE Seattle Children?s Hospital Research Institute|
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