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NCJ Number: 64933 Find in a Library
Title: CHILDREN'S VIEWING OF CRIME SHOWS AND ATTITUDES ON LAW ENFORCEMENT
Journal: JOURNALISM QUARTERLY  Volume:51  Issue:1  Dated:(SPRING 1974)  Pages:5-12
Author(s): J R DOMINICK
Corporate Author: Regents of the University of Minnesota
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Regents of the University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND A STUDY OF FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS IN FOUR NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS ILLUSTRATE THE EFFECTS OF TELEVISION PROGRAMING ON CHILDREN'S ATTITUDES TOWARD LAW ENFORCEMENT.
Abstract: MASS MEDIA SOCIALIZATION RESEARCH HAS FOUND THAT ATTITUDES TOWARD POLICE WERE RELATED TO RACE, SOCIAL CLASS, SEX, AND ACTUAL CONTACT WITH POLICE (BOUMA, 1969); THAT MEDIA EXPOSURE AFFECTED DATING BEHAVIOR (GERSON, 1966); AND THAT TELEVISION PORTRAYS CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IN A STEREOTYPICAL FASHION; (DOMINICK, 1973). IN THIS STUDY, QUESTIONNAIRES WERE COMPLETED BY 371 FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS IN TWO BLUE-COLLAR COMMUNITIES AND IN TWO WHITE-COLLAR AREAS IN 1972. A TOTAL OF 21 PROGRAMS WITH AT LEAST 2 CRIMES IN THE SAMPLE EPISODE WERE IDENTIFIED, AND RESPONDENTS WERE ASKED TO REPORT IF THEY WERE FREQUENT OR NONFREQUENT VIEWERS. ANTECEDENT VARIABLES TESTED INCLUDED PERCEIVED ATTITUDES OF FRIENDS TOWARD POLICE, PARENT'S ATTITUDES TOWARD POLICE, PERSONAL CONTACT WITH POLICE, THE IMPORTANCE OF TELEVISION AS AN INFORMATION SOURCE, AND OCCUPATIONAL PRESTIGE. CRITERION MEASURES DESIGNED TO MEASURE THE YOUNGSTERS' ATTITUDES AND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CRIME AND POLICE INCLUDED IDENTIFICATION WITH TELEVISION CHARACTERS, OCCUPATIONAL PRESTIGE RANKINGS, EVALUATION OF POLICE, EFFICACY OF POLICE, REALITY OF TELEVISION POLICE, PERCEPTIONS OF CRIME AND POLICE VIOLENCE, REPORTING OF WITNESSED CRIMES, AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM. FURTHER PROCEDURES FOR ANALYSIS ARE NOTED. RESULTS INDICATE THAT, FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, VIEWING OF CRIME SHOWS WAS POSITIVELY CORRELATED WITH (1) IDENTIFICATION WITH A TELEVISION CHARACTER ASSOCIATED WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT; (2) BELIEF THAT CRIMINALS USUALLY GET CAUGHT; AND (3) KNOWLEDGE OF CIVIL RIGHTS WHEN ARRESTED. MOREOVER, THE MORE IMPORTANT TELEVISION WAS TO CHILDREN, THE LESS LIKELY THEY WOULD BE TO INFORM POLICE ABOUT A WITNESSED CRIME. FOR BOTH SEXES, THE STRONGEST PREDICTORS OF GENERAL EVALUATION OF POLICE WERE THE PERCEIVED ATTITUDES OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY. FOR BOYS ONLY, MORE PERSONAL CONTACT WITH POLICE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH NEGATIVE EVALUATION. FINALLY, LEGAL TERMS AND PROCESSES SHOWN FREQUENTLY ON TELEVISION WERE BETTER KNOWN THAN THOSE ITEMS NOT COMMONLY PORTRAYED. IMPLICATIONS OF THESE FINDINGS ARE DISCUSSED. TABULAR DATA AND FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (WJR)
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Child development; Elementary school education; Questionnaires; Television programming; Violence on television
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