Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social bullying prevalent in children's television

Date:
September 28, 2012
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
A new research study has found that social bullying is just as prevalent in children's television as depictions of physical aggression.

A new research study led by an Indiana University professor has found that social bullying is just as prevalent in children's television as depictions of physical aggression.

Related Articles


The study, "Mean on the Screen: Social Aggression in Programs Popular With Children," which appears in the Journal of Communication, found that 92 percent of the top 50 program for children between the ages of 2 and 11 showed characters involved in social aggression.

On average, there were 14 different incidents of social aggression per hour, or once every four minutes.

While physical aggression in television for children has been extensively documented, this is believed to be among the first studies to analyze children's exposure to behaviors such as cruel gossiping and manipulation of friendship.

"Social aggression was more likely to be enacted by an attractive perpetrator, to be featured in a humorous context and neither rewarded or punished," wrote Nicole Martins, assistant professor of telecommunications in the IU College of Arts and Sciences. "In these ways, social aggression on television poses more of a risk for imitation and learning than do portrayals of physical aggression."

Martins, the lead researcher on the study, and Barbara Wilson, professor of communication at the University of Illinois, conducted a content analysis of the 50 most popular children's shows according to Nielsen Media Research from December 2006 to March 2007. In all, 150 television shows were viewed and analyzed.

Careful attention was given to what was portrayed in the cases of social aggression, whether the behavior was rewarded or punished, justified or committed by an attractive perpetrator.

The findings suggest that some of the ways in which social aggression is contextualized make these depictions particularly problematic for young viewers.

"These findings should help parents and educators recognize that there are socially aggressive behaviors on programs children watch," Martins said. "Parents should not assume that a program is OK for their child to watch simply because it does not contain physical violence.

"Parents should be more aware of portrayals that may not be explicitly violent in a physical sense but are nonetheless anti-social in nature," Martins added.

The vast majority of socially aggressive incidents -- 78 percent -- were verbal: words to hurt the self-esteem or social standing of another character on the program. The most common types of social aggression were insults (52 percent) or name-calling (25 percent). Other common types of negative behavior shown were teasing (10 percent) and sarcasm (9 percent).

Only about 20 percent of all socially aggressive incidents were non-verbal in nature and typically employed a mean face (36 percent) or laughter meant to lower the self-esteem of another character (31 percent). Rolling eyes, finger pointing and simply ignoring the other person also were common.

"We also coded whether social aggression was directly perpetrated at the target -- such as making a mean face -- or indirectly perpetrated behind the target's back -- such as spreading a rumor," the authors wrote. "The vast majority of socially aggressive incidents (86 percent) were enacted directly at the target. Rarely were socially aggressive incidents perpetrated behind the target's back."

While previous research has demonstrated that gossip is one of the most common forms of social aggression in real life, it was rarely seen in children's television shows analyzed for the study. Martins and Wilson concluded that gossip, due to its indirect nature, may have been seen by program producers as being too subtle for advancing a story's plot.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicole Martins, Barbara J. Wilson. Mean on the Screen: Social Aggression in Programs Popular With Children. Journal of Communication, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01599.x

Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Social bullying prevalent in children's television." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928103807.htm>.
Indiana University. (2012, September 28). Social bullying prevalent in children's television. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928103807.htm
Indiana University. "Social bullying prevalent in children's television." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120928103807.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins