Images Commercial vs Educational Children's Television I Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

images commercial vs. educational children's television. I research paper include sections/information: I. Introduction: You spark interest discuss: A. Why topic significant study? B.

Stereotypes presently dominate society, even with the fact that it has experienced notable progress in the last few years and discrimination is presently on a lower level. When considering children television, one is likely to observe that, depending on its purpose, it can be more or less stereotypical. On the one hand, advertisements are typically shown in a cliched, as girls are portrayed playing with dolls and cooking while boys are pictured as being more aggressive, more competitive, and generally determined to attain as much power as possible. On the other hand, children also have access to educational television, this normally making it easier for them to understand social order and moral matters.

Literature Review

Ever since its appearance approximately half a century ago, television has played a major role in children's lives. "Early studies of communities recently introduced to television found that, among families that had television sets, the average amount of time children spent watching television ranged between 1 hour, 36 minutes and 2 hours, 54 minutes per day -- the equivalent of approximately 11 to 21 hours per week" (Fisch, 2004, p. 2). Matters have escalated in the recent years as most children have come to spend as much as 20 hours per week in front of their television sets. Considering the number of hours children watch television, their exposure time to characters in televised programs might even be greater than the time they are exposed to the behaviors of their own parents.

Children start forming their identities at a young age and look for inspiration in practically every environment that they interact with. While they also tend to imitate adult characters around them, they are also heavily influenced by the mass media. Most children are likely to have formed a personal identity even before they reach primary school. Television programs currently use aggressive techniques of drawing children audiences and this can have severe effect on children (Krendl & Warren, 2004, p. 71).

According to Fisch, first-rate "early childhood programs can produce short-term gains in IQ and sizable long-term effects on school achievement, grade retention, placement in special education, and social adjustment" (Fisch, 2004, p. 35). With children's brains being much more active than brains in adults, it is only natural that children should be provided with quality educational material at an early age. However, there is much controversy regarding children's programs as a result of the advertisements shown between shows. Commercials during Saturday morning cartoons show girls as they play house or as they play with make-up and boys as they play sports, engage in action figure fighting, or race cars. Girls are typically presented playing inside the house and rarely leaving it, as they are presumably too vulnerable to do so. In contrast, boys are portrayed as having access to a wider range of environments and as being freer in general. Girls normally take on passive roles as a result of having sex-role expectations and perform activities characteristic to housewives, secretaries, and fashion models. In contrast, Boys take on more active roles as they engage in activities that are emblematic for construction workers, doctors, and policemen (Brasted, 2010).

Although some might confuse action figures for dolls, they are actually two distinct categories, as, from the perspective of children, dolls are meant for girls and action figures are meant for boys, with the latter being able to use aggression and generally being predisposed to fighting. Gender stereotypes encourage boys to play with action figures but make it abnormal for them to play with dolls. The fact that some dolls are called action figures contributes to boys wanting to play with them, as these are apparently more appropriate for them because they emphasize the concept of action (Brasted, 2010).

Gender role reinforcement frequently happens in advertisements, considering that boys are never shown playing with girl toys and girls are never portrayed playing with boy toys. Even when products are not directed at a particular gender, boys are typically shown explaining how the toy works or controlling the game they play with girls. Color is also particularly important when considering gender role, as advertisements showing inflatable castles show girls as they stay in pink castles and boys as they stay in grey castles. Such advertisements associate color with gender and have children identify with certain colors, depending on their sex. Most people are likely to consider that there is nothing wrong with advertisements, as they are simply trying to get people to buy things. However, advertisements directed at a child audience have a negative effect on children because they practically teach them in regard to gender roles and concerning the expectations that they are supposed to have. These advertisements virtually tell children what is and what is not ok for boys and girls to do. Although some advertisements are not meant to influence children in regard to gender roles, they do so because most children are inclined to imitate behaviors seen in same-sex models. Furthermore, tutors are likely to reward children when they imitate same-sex models, and, respectively, to punish them when they replicate behaviors they observe in opposite-sex models (Brasted, 2010).

Boys are typically inclined to remember behaviors put across by same-sex characters that they see in televised programs. In contrast, girls are likely to imitate behaviors seen in female characters present in the shows that they viewed. "Boys' social groups had strong norms against any interest in romantic content, resulting in several critical and negative statements about such content. Further, boys often referred to the fictional machinations of production when making such comments, further distancing themselves from any interest in love stories" (Krendl & Warren, 2004, p. 71). The influence that televised programs have on children also depends on the environment that they are present in, given that girls are probable to express interest in romantic affairs and attractive clothes when they are around other girls and possible to employ critical analysis in regard to TV shows when they are in cross-sex discussion parties. Similarly, education levels have a severe effect on the way that children perceive programs, as individuals who received limited education are less likely to attempt to filter the information that they receive. Environments also have an effect on children's impression concerning a particular show, as they are their enjoyment of the respective televised program is likely to be negatively affected if the majority of their friends say that the show is uninteresting.

One of the reasons for which television has an influential effect on children during their early lives is the fact that they cannot read and are thus inclined to focus on one of the environments that they can easily understand. In contrast to children's programs, adult programs are normally directed at a unisex audience and rarely put across gender stereotypes. Marketing directors, however, are perfectly aware that children are more vulnerable when it comes to their ability to filter information and thus feel that it is easier for them to influence children in developing an interest in a particular object. Most children already have a prejudiced understanding of gender roles when they reach the age of seven, thus being extremely difficult for someone to present them with a more objective view in regard to the matter. By being presented with live role models, children find it problematic to assume an impartial attitude in regard to gender.

Analyzing the degree to which children are affected by televised advertisements is very important, especially considering that "the average child will be exposed to 600,000 television commercials in the first 20 years of life" (Larson, 2001, p. 41). It is difficult to study the effects that commercials have on children because their influence might not be reflected immediately after the child views it, as he or she can store it as a cognitive script to follow in the future. When he or she comes across a situation resembling the one he or she saw in the commercial, he or she is probable to adopt a similar attitude with the one that he or she saw on television.

Educational televised programs are normally meant to prepare children as they integrate society. However, at the point when they enter school, some children can be less prepared in comparison to others, thus making it obvious that education has a very important effect on children's upbringing. There are numerous televised programs directed at a child audience and meant to instruct children in regard to fields like mathematics, literature, and science. However, while these programs prepare children as they enter society, some of them put across gender stereotypes. It is difficult to determine whether this happens because producers believe that it is easier for children to learn when they identify with characters or whether it is involuntary. In addition to curricula that they are expected to learn in school, children are also provided with…

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