Children and Television

Name: A. N. EXAMPLE Section: XXX
Research Topic Children and Television
Thesis Children’s television viewing time should be reduced and carefully monitored, or perhaps eliminated completely in the case of children under two.
SUPPORT Section 1 TV and violent behaviour
Idea 1 – popularity of violent programs Sources
Idea 2 – children copying what they see Idea 1-Eastman (2004)
“It is estimated that by the time an average Canadian or American child leaves elementary school he or she will have seen 8¨000 murders and over 100,000 other acts of television violence” (para 3).
Idea 2- Rowell Huesmann et al, (2003)
“Building on the accumulating evidence that human and primate young have an innate tendency to imitate whomever they observe (Butterworth, 1999; Wyrwicka, 1996), these theories propose that very young children imitate almost any specific behaviors they see. Observation of specific aggressive behaviors around them increases children’s likelihood of behaving in exactly that way” (p.219).
Idea 3- Bushman & Rowell Huesmann (2006)
“For example, most persons seem to have an innate negativeemotionalresponsetoobservingbloodandviolenceas evidencedbyincreased heart rates, perspiration,andselfreportsof discomfort that often accompany such exposure.However, with repeated exposure, this negative emotional responsehabituates, and the childbecomesdesensitized.The childcanthenthinkaboutandplan proactive aggressive actswithout experiencing negative affect” (p. 349).
Idea 3- Murray (2005)
“Extensive violence viewing may lead to decreased sensitivity to violence and a greater willingness to tolerate increasing levels of violence in society” (para. 3).
Idea 3 – extreme violence on TV may desensitize children
Idea 4
SUPPORT Section 2 TV and attention problems
Idea 1 -fast-moving and colourful programs / grab attention Sources
Idea 2 -possible addiction to TV Idea 1-Barkham (2009)
“But the editing speeds and the colours and the number of hours spent watching TV and the age at which TV watching starts are a whole different thing now. We can’t compare now with before” (para 16).
-Haeri and Kelly, (2012)
Idea 2-“What’s implicated in this is a chemical called dopamine, this may be the case, dopamine is produced when we see something that is interesting or new, but it also has a second function. Dopamine isalso the neurochemical involved in most addictions, it’s the reward chemical” (para. 14).
Idea 3
Idea 4
SUPPORT Section 3 TV and obesity
Idea 1 – TV watching and snacking (mindless eating) Sources
Idea 2 – TV watching and less time for physical activity Idea 1 and Idea 3 – Dietz &Gortmaker (1985)
“Television viewing by children also correlates with between-meal snacking, consumption of foods advertised on television, and the children’s attempts to influence their mother’s food purchases” (p. 807).
Idea 2 – Dietz (2001)
“Likewise, the amount of physical activity that children engage in has been reduced by an increase in the use of cars, an increase in the amount of time spent watching television, and a decrease in the opportunities in many communities for physical activity on the way to school or in school. Although television viewing seems to cause obesity in children in the United States it is not clear how many of these other factors promote obesity in young children” (p. 313).
Idea 1 and Idea 3- Swinburn& Shelly (2008)
“It appears that children may learn to associate TV viewing with snacking atan early age, probably reinforced by the high percentage of food advertising during peak viewing times for children.About a third to a half of TV advertisements during programsscheduled for children are for food,33,34 with the vastmajority (79–98% from studies in the United Kingdom,Australia and the United States35,36) being advertisements forenergy-dense foods or beverages” (p134).

Idea 3 – TV watching and food advertising
Idea 4
COUNTERARGUMENTS Possible positive effects of TV
Idea 1 Positive effect of TV on attitudes and beliefs Sources
Rebuttal – only if children see the right programs (need for parents to watch with children? > shows need for monitoring) Idea 1 – Mares and Woodward (2005)
“In any event, the conclusion is that television has the potential to foster positive social interactions, reduce aggression, and encourage viewers to bemore tolerant and helpful. Surely, this is good news” (p.316).
Idea 2 – Anderson &Pempeck (2005)
“Children 2 years and older can clearly learn vocabulary from television” ….”It is interesting to note that 2 studies find negative associations of language development and viewing Sesame Street younger than the age of 2 years. This stands in contrast to consistent findings of increased language development associated with viewing of Sesame Street by older children” (pp. 515-516).
Idea 2 – Moeller (1996)
“The effects of coviewing television with other people are not well understood yet for adult audiences. However, studies that have examined the effect of parental coviewing on children have demonstrated some positive effects. For instance, adult coviewers can increase the amount children learn from educational programs such as Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (Ball &Bogatz, 1973; Salomon, 1977; Singer & Singer 1976), help children understand plot
elements (e.g., Collins, Sobol, & Westby, 1981) and facilitate comprehension (e.g., Ball &Bogatz, 1973; Collins et al., 1981). Adult coviewers can also mediate some of the negative effects of violence and antisocial content by expressing disapproval and pointing out
discrepancies between television reality and real life (e.g., Huesmann, Eron, Klein, Brice, & Fisher, 1983).
Researchers have proposed that verbal interaction between coviewers is primarily responsible for enhanced learning outcomes. Verbal interaction strategies that have shown to be beneficial, at least with children, include expanding upon the content of the television program, explaining
vocabulary, explaining motives and plots, and expressing agreement or disagreement with communicated messages (e.g., Bryce &Leichter, 1983)” (p. 15).
Idea 2 Positive effect of TV on education and literacy
Rebuttal – many violent and inappropriate programs (not educational)

  • positive effect on educational development only if they watch educational programs> need to monitor
  • children under 2 > evidence that even educational programs don’t help development > need to cut out TV


Anderson, D.R. and Pempek, T.A., (2005). Television and Very Young Children. The American Behavioural Psychologist, 48(5), 505 – 576. DOI: 10.1177/0002764204271506
Barkham, P. (2009, October 14th). Television – not in front of the children? The Guardian. Retrieved September 15th, 2013 from
Bushman, B.J. and Rowell Huesmann, L. (2006). Short-term and Long-term Effects of Violent Media on Aggression in Children and Adults. Arch PediatrAdolesc Med, 160. Retrieved September 15th, 2013 from
Dietz, W.H. (2001). The obesity epidemic in young children. BMJ322(7282), 313-314. Retrieved September 15th, 2013, from
Dietz, W.H. and Gortmaker, S.L., (1985). Do We Fatten Our Children at the Television Set? Obesity and Television Viewing in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 75(5), 809 – 812. Retrieved September 15th, 2013, from
Eastman, W. (2004). Beginnings and Beyond: The Relationship Between Television Violence and Neurodevelopment of Young Children. College Quarterly, 7(3). Retrieved September 15th, 2013 from
Haeri, S. and Spencer, K. (2012). Warning to cut TV for young children. BBC NEWS. Retrieved September 15th, 2013 from
Mares, M. and Woodward, E. (2005). Positive Effects of Television on Children’s Social Interactions: A Meta-Analysis, MEDIA PSYCHOLOGY, 7, 301 – 322. DOI:10.1207/S1532785XMEP0703_4
Moeller, B. (1996). Learning from Television: A Research Review. Centre for Children & Technology Reports, 11. Retrieved September 19th, 2013 from
Murray, J.P. (2001). TV Violence and Brainmapping in Children. Psychiatric Times, XVII(10). Retrieved September 15th, 2013 from
Rowell Huesmann, L., Moise-Titus, J., Podolski, C. and Eron, L.D. (2003). Longtitudinal Relations Between Children’s Exposure to TV Violence and Their Aggressive and Violent Behaviour in Young Adulthood: 1977-1992. Developmental Psychology 39(2), 201-221. DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.39.2.201
Swinburn, B. and Shelly, A. (2008). Effects of TV time and other sedentary pursuits. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 132 – 136. Retrieved September 15th, 2013, from

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