Even when television viewing is limited, by the time the average child reaches the age of eighteen, he or she will have spent more time with television than any other activity except sleeping. The cumulative effects of this much television viewing cannot be ignored; we must learn about television's impacts and effects so we can determine the role it should play in our lives and those of our children. This book grew out of the perceived need for an authoritative sourcebook and compendium of existing research. Each chapter consists of an extensive review of the literature and research relating to numerous aspects of the broad topic, including content, commercials, viewing habits, cognitive effects, behavioral effects, educational impact, and a brief history of children's programming. The first section focuses on the more formal aspects of television and how they relate to children. Signorielli begins with a description of the history and background of children's programming and moves into a discussion of specific theoretical and institutional issues as they relate to children and television. The chapters that follow examine children's comprehension and uses of television.
The second section examines the content and effects of television. These chapters focus specifically upon images in children's programming and commercials and the impact these images may have upon children's behavior and their ideas about the world. Examination of content images, relating to topics such as sex, occupational roles, and violence form a natural bridge into discussions about specific behavioral effects as well as attitudes and opinions relating to these issues. The third section examines research relating to learning and academic achievement--how television has helped and/or hindered the education of our children. The final section assesses the impact of new television technologies--video cassette recorders and cable television--as they relate to children. It also takes a hard look at how television's potential for children could be realized from a policy perspective as well as hands-on advice for parents and teachers. The appendix provides specific information about recent advances in children's programming and videotapes. Signorielli's sourcebook will be essential reading for parents and teachers concerned about the impact of television upon children.
Communications scholars will also find it a source of considerable insight and direction.
NANCY SIGNORIELLI is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Role Portrayals and Stereotyping on Television and Violence and Terror in Media, both published by Greenwood Press (1985, 1988).
Preface The History of Children's Television Children's Television and Policy Issues Attention and Comprehension Television's Formal Attributes Children, Television, and Imagination Children, Family, and the Use of Television The World of Children's Television Gender Roles: Messages and Impact Violence Children and Advertising Television and Academic Achievement Children and the New Technologies Making It Better Appendix: Children's Television Programming and Videotapes References Index