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In what ways television affects

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In what ways television affects the way children say they play.

AIM: I propose to find out what children say about how television affects their play.

 Socialisation is a very important concept in sociology and the role of the mass media is highly debateable. Many sociologists believe that media effects start by setting out an overall relationship between media and its audience. They are often called models of media effects. I will interview the children these interviews will be unstructured. The children will be interviewed separately. Gender will be a comparison I look at to and whether the gender affects whom the children imitate.


The study of Bandura Ross and Ross uses the term of social learning theory to assert that children copy behaviour another example of this is copycat violence found in Hagell & Newburn’s study.

In my research will ask the children whether they say they act violently due to the violent content they may have viewed and whether they have chosen to imitate these programs.  Hagell & Newburn’s study compared young offenders viewing behaviour with non-offending teenagers. They found the differences were few between the two groups and what they watched, with hardly any having seen the films that were causing the concern at that time. A few members of either group had an interest in a violent output. The young offenders had less access to different media types. Other factors instead of media could have been causing the differences in their behaviour.

The other context being analysed is Bandura Ross Ross who looked at whether children learnt behaviour through observation. This is the idea of the social learning theory. Children were made to watch a violent model be aggressive towards a five-foot ‘bobo’ doll. Later the children were given an aggressive arousal and then taken to another room where they were monitored as to how they reacted towards the ‘bobo’ doll, after seeing a model do this.

The different concepts are is copycat violence this is violence that occurs as a result of copying what is seen in the media. Catharsis another theory is the process where tension is relieved, for example violence on screen that provides a safe outlet for people’s violent inclination. The final concept is desensitisation some theorists argue that the constant media diet of violence makes them less sensitive to real human suffering.

These concepts tie in with the idea children are passive sociologists believe this, children respond easily to everything. This is the reason for watershed on T.V at 9pm because what comes on television isn’t suitable enough for children and there is a fear that the children will imitate this behaviour.  



The method I will be using is by interviewing the children by asking them to explain the reason for their behaviour. The questions I will ask the children will be questions not only requiring the answers that I need but there will be a series of distracting questions so the children will not know the aim of the questions being asked. Interviews are an advantage because it is better to gather all the information needed for an interview because you get to understand what the interviewee’s true opinions are.  Interviews are flexible and can be used in different ways; also the ethical advantage is consent of the participants the theoretical advantage is that at applies to the law of interpretivists (Action theory). You can use empathy to understand their opinions in depth; these methods generate higher levels of validity of these results. They give a general understanding of the problem, there is less pressure on the interviewee and their answers are more spontaneous.

Important concepts are uncovered about the information that will help me conclude whether the children imitate what they watch.

When interviewing the children I will be asking them which programs they imitate and this will give me an insight into whether there is a pattern with what they watch.

The sample I will be using for the interviews are of children from the ages of five to ten years old, because at this stage of childhood where television will be their main interest and there is a large variety if television for children of these ages also this is the age children are most likely to be influenced by the media.

The genders of the children being used are varied so I will be using five boys and five girls.

The children all come from the Borough of Newham of East London. It is easier for me if the children are living in the same borough there will be an easier access to these children and it will be easier for me and the children.

The sample of the children I will be studying is opportunity sampling as the sample depends on whether the adults agree to their children being in the sample.

The consent for whether the child will participate will be the decision of the adults.

In Bandura’s study he gave the children an aggressive arousal and in this study will not do this as the aggressive arousal means that the children could have acted violently because of the arousal given and not because they were imitating the models behaviour.



The interviews of the amount of children I will be looking at can be very time consuming.  With this study I need to be aware that the sample isn’t appropriate enough to apply to the whole population because all the children are from the same background and all from a similar ethical background and there may be a pattern in their behaviour.

The main practical issue is whether the adults will allow their children to take part in the study. These types of questionnaires are basically a conversation dominates by the interviewer. These unstructured interviews may also go off the initial idea of what is being interviewed. Also with the amount of children I will be looking at and the sample of children I will be looking at there will be a lot of activity so it may be difficult to record all of their behaviour. These interviews are more difficult to analyse, and there are less details provided on the concept being asked.

Ethical problems are mental harm to the children if they don’t like the questions being asked of them. Right to withdraw will be an ethical issue also because the children may not feel they have the right to leave and stop asking the questions.

The final ethical issue is informed consent, which will be coming from the child and not the parents. The children should be able to make the decision but when a child is involved the parents have the consent.

Time consumption is a practical issue through finding time to interview ten children. Being able to get the children to understand the question and also to cooperate may be difficult.

Likewise another ethical issue is the children may not understand the debriefing. If they don’t understand the debriefing there will be an issue of this ethical guideline and the parents will also have to also be debriefed too.

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