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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148978 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Television and Social Behavior Reports and Papers, Volume IV: Television in Day-to-Day Life; Patterns of Use
Editor(s): G A Comstock; E A Rubinstein; J P Murray
Date Published: 1972
Page Count: 609
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Sale Source: Superintendent of Documents, GPO
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Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Eight research projects examine the frequency and content of television viewing in the 1970's, so as to determine what role television plays in the daily lives of Americans.
Abstract: The studies range from general studies of national samples to studies that focus either on specific subpopulations or on audiences for specific types of programs. The studies were done independently, and the methodologies used varied considerably. Overall, the studies suggest several changes over the decade of the 1970's in the public's use of and attitudes toward television. Although the amount of time that a television set is on has increased, the degree of attention to program content fluctuates markedly. Apparently, viewers "drop in and out" of programs as they perform other activities on the household premises. This raises the possibility that although television has become more a part of our lives, its hold on our attention has declined. One study suggests there has been a leveling of television viewing among youth and that heavy versus light viewing per se does not predict mental ability, social class, parental conflict, and social isolation in 1970 as it apparently did in 1959. A study of the role of television in the lives of adults indicates it has not displaced other activities valued by the individual, but is more likely being used to fill time that would otherwise have gone to some other generally "nonconstructive" activities. Although individuals may spend large amounts of time viewing television, primarily seeking relaxation, there is little in the data to suggest that this is turning them into escapists, deviants, or social isolationists. The studies show that learning occurs from viewing television, and what is learned can be strongly mediated by parental influence. Even though many mothers complain about the negative influences of television on their children, much of the viewing of even very young children is unsupervised. In some cases, children's viewing of violent programming increases in connection with the amount of time they spend viewing television with their parents. Apparently, in watching what parents prefer, children are exposed to violent adult programming. Tabular data, footnotes, and references accompany each study.
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Criminology; Parental influence; Violence causes; Violence on television
Note: A technical report to the Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior
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