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Durham e-Theses
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The influence of television on children of primary school age

Cattermole, Jennifer (1988) The influence of television on children of primary school age. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The study reviews the literature relating to the influence of television on children of primary school age. An account is then given of an investigation into the viewing habits and preferences of two consecutive classes of 8 - 9 year old school children, mainly from a socially deprived area. 87% came from homes with more than one TV set, 59% had a VCR - above the national average, as were the term-time viewing hours of 69% of these pupils; 60% of them spent more time watching television than in school and 26% watched for more than a quarter of each entire week. The results revealed a developing dichotomy between the increasingly private viewing of 'live' television and the family togetherness experienced during a hired video screening. Most children in multi-set households were able to watch anything they wished. Possession of a VCR enabled transmissions after the 9 p.m. 'watershed' to be watched at a more convenient time. Favourite programmes included cartoons and adult shows (especially situation comedies and violent programmes considered unsuitable for children). Reasons for these preferences were investigated and, in general, children used television as a means of escapism and thus tended to dislike those programmes which made demands on them. In view of their popularity, the content and appeal of cartoons were further examined. Cartoons provided fantasy, excitement, fun and laughter. Although often containing more acts of violence than a 'real' programme, they were enjoyable because, in reality, no-one was hurt. In school, the heaviest viewers tended to be the least attentive and the most aggressive, but other causative factors made it difficult to directly correlate such behaviour. Although television provided a commonality of experience for these children’s conversation and play, it appeared to contribute little to their language, their knowledge and their perception of social reality.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:50

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