It Was Saturday Morning, and Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

I asked him if he felt like the commercials made him want to have the
things he saw on TV. Initially he said no, but then corrected himself and
said that many times he would see a toy or game on television on a
commercial that he would like to have, but did not expect to receive at any
time immediate since it would appear to be too expensive or the time from
birthday or Christmas was too long. He appeared to know a lot about the
toys that were on the commercials and he told me that many of his friends
would have one toy or another, and would say whether the other child liked
the toy or not, whether it was "cheap" or not. My friend and I watched two
episode of Avatar, and one episode of another show called Drake and Josh.
The latter is a live action show about two step-brothers in a blended
family. The show was typical of many of the simple situation comedies of
my childhood but my friend appeared to enjoy it as much as he did the
animated show.

I had time to sit down with my friend's mother later that afternoon, and we
watched cartoons as well. She is 42, and told me that when she was young
cartoons were on for a short period of time in the afternoon (usually re-
runs of old Warner Brothers cartoons) and on Saturday morning until about
noon. She explained that while she did not like her son to watch TV
excessively, she noticed that he would sometimes go for a period where he
did not want to watch television at all, and then want to watch several
hours at a time. She remarked that this experience was similar to friends
of hers. I asked her how she felt about the character dying on the Avatar
show. She explained to me that she had seen several violent cartoons in
her childhood and she did not feel that she was a more aggressive person
for it. She said that sometimes she noticed her son was a bit more
energetic after watching cartoons, but chalked it up to the fact that he
was less physically active at the time and needed to get his energy out
after sitting for a long time. She reported that she did not let him watch
certain cartoons, because the shows had either frightened him in the past
or she felt that they had inappropriate content. Most of these shows were
on the Cartoon Network. She reported that she would prefer that her son
watch the shows on PBS, but also noted that those shows tended to be less
sophisticated, and did not hold his attention. She said he usually sought
out television shows which had a strong plot rather than action.

I asked her to relate the children's programming we were watching (This
time on the Disney Channel) to that she had seen as a child. She reported
that the programming was definitely more sophisticated, and that there was
a lot more selection. She admitted she enjoyed watching some of the shows
herself, especially Spongebob Squarepants, a show about a naive sponge who
works in a fast food establishment under the ocean. She reported that her
children did initially tend to ask her for the toys and especially the food
they saw on television, but when they realized there were limitations on
what she would get for them, they stopped.

My young friend does not appear to have a significant difference in his
experience of television that do his friends, if his mother's report is
correct for her son, his friends and her other school age children. His
mother, however, had a significantly different experience in her childhood
in that television was a much smaller part of her day or childhood than was
seen for her son and his friends. My young friend was appropriate in his
behavior after and during the television show and was able to apply correct
reality testing to the incident in which the character died on the show.
While my cohort was very small, I believe that the experience of watching
the children's show with my friend may give pause to belie all the negative
information we hear about children and television. This may be the basis…

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