A study on the effects of television watching on children

Published 15 Feb 2017

Research Topic: A study on the effects of television watching on children

Literature Review: The researcher reviewed numerous studies carried out by investigators on the effectors of television on the behaviour of children. This includes numerous psychological experiments, government studies and congressional investigations. Most of these studies direct their efforts on the relationship between television violence and the societal violence that is rampant in our societies. Research problem; since 1950s when television rose to be the major entertainment medium in the world, many investigators were concerned with the effects of the television on the behaviour of the young. Their worry has always been the possible detrimental effects of violent programming, resulting in considerable knowledge of the influence of televised aggression (Liebert, Neale, &Davidson, 1973). In this study the investigation wants to find out the relationship between television watching and children social behaviour since most of American children spend most of their time watching television instead of going to school and the educators feel that it has replaced the school as the primary “socializing” agent outside the family.

The gaps of knowledge – The less studied subject as identified by the researcher is the effects of television on children behaviour as well as the degree in which the television might induce pro-social attitudes and behaviours among the young.

Hypothesis: there is a positive relationship between television watching and children pro-social behavior

Independent Variables: Three and half- hour television programs, Pro-social Lessie series, Neutral Lessie series and Brady Bunch show

Dependent Variables: The number of seconds the help button is pressed. Assignment of subjects to the treatments. The subjects to the thirty first grade children, 15 boys and 15 girls were individually exposed to one of the three had hour television programs. Controls used to prevent extraneous variables form confounding the results. To control the various broad characteristics of the three programs, children in the two principles groups (pro-social Lessie and Brady Bunch shows). Viewed one of the two programs from the sense Lessie, complete with commercials message but the story line was altered such that one of them was woven into it the particular pro-social example while the other did not. The combination of the similarities and difference was to optimise the detection of potential effects of specific modelling cases from entertainment television upon youngsters’ later behaviours.

Data Collection Procedures: The children behaviors were observed during the entertainment and how first they reacted when they were called to help. The number of seconds that the help button was pressed by the children was recorded.

Data Analysis: The researcher used descriptive statistics to analyse the data that was collected. The Means and the Standard Deviations were calculated to ease analysis. The investigator further used the analysis of variance (ANOVA) model to analyse further the information to ease interpretation.

Summary of Results: The primary dependent measure was the number of seconds the help button was pressed and the mean as well as the standard deviation of each was calculated. Analysis of variance of these scores was used to yield the significant effects.

Summary of the Discussions

In the two control conditions boys tended to help more than their female counterparts. Despite these different tendencies the overall results of this experiment disclosure clearly the validity of the basic demonstration we sought to produce. At least under some circumstances, a televised example can increase a child’s willingness to engage in helping behaviour. This finding extends the earlier, work with simulated television materials and the experimental field study reported by Stein and Friedrich (1973) by demonstrating the influence of commercial broadcast programming designed primarily as entertainment. This design helped in isolating the particular aspect of the program, a pro-social example by the protagonist as the central ingredient necessary for such an effect to occur, the alternative lessie show and the generally warm Brady bunch program produce less helping. Design Principles: Experimental Research Design whereby Observational method was employed in this study. Both internal and external validity posed threats at points where measurements and experimental manipulations are made more so where multiple measurements are made. Therefore there is high probability for biasness Another experiment that may be used to test the same hypothesis as those in this experiment is where children from different socio economic classes are used as subject without considering the gender. Parental consent is necessary since the children were under 18 years of age and would not be considered to make valid decisions. Whenever one is using experimental research design he/she must seek the consent of the subject he intends to use or the consent of parents if the subjects are below 18 years of age.

The children believed that the situation was real since they were not briefed about the experiment otherwise they would have not participated. Deception is very critical in psychological research although considered unethical and morally reprehensive subjects in deceptive experiments enjoy and learn more than those in non deceptive experiments. Deception is only allowed on methodological grounds so as to get valid results. Debriefing subjects is usually done after the experiment and explains the purpose and the methods that were used. Otherwise debriefing regarding deception might cause more harm than deception itself. Debriefing is only necessary after all the subjects are through with participation since they might share information and thus compromise the scientific validity of the study. .

The code of ethics when using human beings as experimental subjects demands that the subjects are made aware of what they are about to participate and should give consent. But in this experiment the parents of the subjects were the only who were informed. The findings of this study are very relevant even today since television is the major mode of entertainment for many families and children spent most of their time watching television. However, if the experiment is to be conducted today children from different socio-economic classes should be used in order to have results, which touch on everybody.


  • Liebert, R.M Neale J.M, & Davidson, E.S (1973). The early window. New York. Pergamon Press
  • Stein, A.H & Friedrich, L.K (1970). Television constant and young children’s behaviours. In J.P Murray, E.A Comstock (Eds). Television and Social Behaviour. Vol. 11: Television and social learning Washington D.C. U.S. Government printing office
  • Stein, G. M, & Bryan, J.H (1972). The effect of a television Model upon rule adoption behaviour of Children. Child Development, 43, 268-273
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