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NCJ Number: 150864 Find in a Library
Title: Television Violence Advisories: Do They Make a Difference?
Author(s): L T Lee; S Chan-Olmsted
Corporate Author: Northern Illinois University
United States of America

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
United States of America
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Northern Illinois University
Dekalb, IL 60115
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68508
Type: Conference Material
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: On-screen parental advisories are discussed.
Abstract: This paper examines the effectiveness of television violence advisories, i.e., on-screen indicators that warn that due to violent content of the production, parental discretion is advised. The general theoretical underpinnings and related studies that examine attitudes toward and reactions to warning labels on television and in general are reviewed. The "Tainted Fruit" and the "Forbidden Fruit" theoretical approaches to explain audience reactions to television violence labeling and studies supporting each approach are described briefly. Results of a study conducted to address the effectiveness question by analyzing prime- time network television viewing records of adults, teens and children from 1991 to 1994 to determine whether labeled programs are actually viewed less than nonlabeled programs of the same genre are presented. Two types of ratings comparisons are made: one compares programs containing advisories to the action/adventure (A/A) genre; the other compares programs without advisories to the A/A genre. An index system used in Consumer Price Index, advertising media planning, and market evaluation situations was used to analyze adults', teens' and children's Nielsen viewing records for comparison purposes. Findings of the study, presented in tabular and narrative formats, show inter alia that the existence of advisories do not seem to deter teens' or children's viewing of programs containing violent scenes. The absence of advisories did not seem to generate any consistent impact on teens' or children's viewing behavior. Regardless of the use of advisories, the viewing of violent and somewhat violent programs by teens and children was generally high when compared to their viewing of other A/A programming and even to the proportion of viewing by their adult counterparts. Factors such as competition, program popularity, and the reliability of Nielsen's people meters may have influenced the viewing levels. Despite negligible effects on viewing behavior, the researchers conclude that television violence warnings may be important not so much for what they are, but for what they represent and the social awareness they may help foster. Notes, 25 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime prevention measures; Media violence; Media-crime relationships; Violence on television
Note: This paper was presented at the International Conference on Violence in the Media: Prospects for Change, held on October 3-4, 1994, in New York City. The conference was sponsored by St. John's University.
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