Children and Television Violence in Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

The study in this report involved a 14-year-old adolescent female who was 5-feet 2-inches and weighed 132 pounds; she was given a challenge to walk for exercise and use an exercise machine at home -- and in turn she agreed to cut back on television and other media usage. The bottom line was, she lost weight, but moreover, one year after the study she was increasing the level of physical activity she had been given at the outset of the study.

Evidence is presented in an article titled "Body Dissatisfaction and Patterns of Media Use Among Preadolescent Children" that boys and girls determine to some degree how their bodies should look from watching television. The authors' empirical research indicates that "body dissatisfaction and concern with weight" actually develop before a child reaches age 7 in Western societies (Jung, et al., 2007, p. 40). The alert researcher can see from the outset that marketing efforts by companies selling clothes, music, food and other products have a dynamic effect on children. "Thinness is considered as one of the most important criteria for female attractiveness," (Jung 41) the authors explain; and for males, "well-developed chest and arm muscles" are very important.

And how do young people develop these ideas about the preferred body types? The article points to television as the source of these attitudes by children; indeed, a study referenced by Jung found that "adolescent females who viewed more television were more dissatisfied with their bodies than were females who viewed less television" (Jung 42). In another study (this one involving grade school children) the amount of television viewing time was linked to "increased eating disorder symptoms" among both boys and girls. As weight issues, another study showed that, "below average weight female characters [on TV shows] received significantly more positive verbal comments from male characters with regards to body weight and shape than their heavier counterparts" (Jung 42). The result of studies like this show that television images (of thin pretty characters) can cause girls to potentially develop eating disorders, a dangerous and unproductive dynamic for parents and communities.

Beyond the issues of violence and weight, television also has a potentially negative impact on a child's literacy, according to an article in the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy (Moses 2008). In the research presented, Moses explains that while "moderate amounts" of television viewing can be "beneficial for reading," the content of what a child sees on television can impact literacy skills. Moses mentions the amount of available literature suggesting that aggressive behaviors and violence on television have a direct effect on children's behaviors, but she also notes that there has not been as much research into television and children's ability to learn to read and to enhance their literacy (Moses 70).

That having been said, Moses also points to the controlled use of television and how it can "lead to gains in certain early literacy skills" (Moses 71). Certain "messages" are offered in programs that seek to promote literacy that can be effective, Moses explains. But without teacher and/or parental leadership in terms of what children are watching and how it relates to their learning and literacy, children will be subjected to violence and other adult themes that are entirely inappropriate for them. In conclusion, the problem of violence and other negative images that children see on television is not a new problem, nor is it going away any time soon. The fact remains that television presents potentially great harm to children. It is up to the families and parents of children to steer them in the right direction when it comes to television viewing.

Works Cited

Potter, James W. On Media Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 1999.

Jung, Jaehee, & Peterson, Michael. "Body Dissatisfaction and Patterns of Media Use

Among Preadolescent Children." Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal

Vol. 36 (2007): 40-50

Larwin, Karen H., & Larwin, David A. "Decreasing Excessive Media Usage While

Increasing Physical Activity: A Single-Subject Research Study." Behavior

Modification Vol. 32 (2008): 938-946.

Moses, Annie M. "Impacts of television viewing on young children's literacy

Development in the U.S.A.: A…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Potter, James W. On Media Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 1999.

Jung, Jaehee, & Peterson, Michael. "Body Dissatisfaction and Patterns of Media Use

Among Preadolescent Children." Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal

Vol. 36 (2007): 40-50

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