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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77236 Find in a Library
Title: Violent Face of Television and Its Lessons
Journal: Children and the Faces of Television - Teaching, Violence, Selling  Dated:(1981)  Pages:149-162
Author(s): G Gerbner; L Gross
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study sketches some features of the world of television, of the role of violence in that world, and of public concerns about the depiction of violence as a context for the findings of a long-range project.
Abstract: Characteristics of television as a social institution are described including its universal and ritualistic use, its cyclical and repetitive programming, and its portrayal of violent action where 46 percent of all major characters commit violence and 55 percent suffer it. Two different but related methods of research were used to find out what viewers in fact learn from television. These included the periodic analysis of large and representative aggregates of television output as the system of messages to which total communities are exposed and the determination of what, if anything, viewers absorb from living in that world. The results derived from previous adult and child surveys confirmed that violence-laden television not only cultivates aggressive tendencies in a minority, but also generates a pervasive and exaggerated sense of danger and mistrust. Surveys of 447 seventh and eighth graders in a suburban/rural New Jersey public school and of 140 fifth through twelfth graders in a New York City private school showed that heavy television viewers in both the New York and New Jersey schools were more likely than were light viewers to overestimate the number of people involved in violence and the proportion of people who commit serious crimes. In addition, in a survey of 2,200 7 to 11-year-old children and their parents conducted by the Foundation for Child Development, a significant relationship was found between amount of television viewing and violence-related fears, even with controls for age, sex, ethnic background, vocabulary, and the child's own reports of victimization. The study suggests that schools should teach critical viewing skills, that the resource base for television should be broadened, and that television service should become as much a part of the process of self-government as is energy, conservation, or health. Five references are given.
Index Term(s): Fear of crime; Public education; Violence on television
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