VIEWING HABITS AND IDENTIFICATION WITH TELEVISION CHARACTERS AMONG AT-RISK AND NORMATIVE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
AbstractThis study examined the relationship between participants’ negative or positive identification with television characters and their behavior, and how their reactions in times of anger — whether simply negative or physically violent — varied between at-risk participants and normative ones. Participants were 86 children and adolescents from Israel who filled in four questionnaires on the topics of viewing habits, attitudes, self-image, and aggression. The findings revealed that at-risk children and adolescents reacted with more anger than did their normative counterparts, and that their reaction became stronger when they identified with a character’s negative behavior. It was further revealed that the more they watched, the higher their identification with the character and the greater their negative reaction during anger. A violent physical reaction in times of anger is more strongly associated with viewing alone than with viewing with friends. The findings also revealed that identification with the character is a mediating variable between the amount and type (solitary or with friends) of viewing and negative and violent reactions. At-risk children and adolescents tend to choose programs that show violent behaviors, and such programs could ultimately lead them to exhibit violent reactions. The question is how can the amount of children and adolescents’ viewing be limited while avoiding arguments and punishment? The key to success is finding a solution that will be formulated with the children and adolescents’ full cooperation.
Copyright (c) 2018 Gila Cohen Zilka, Shlomo Romi
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