Discuss Media Influences On Prosocial Behaviour.

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Pro-social behaviours are actions which aim to help others. For example, helping, sharing and caring for others.
It seems as though the media can have a positive effect on individuals. It can have an influence on pro-social behaviour, and there are different explanations which help us to understand how the media does it.

Being exposed to pro-social behaviour is one way in which the media can have a positive effect on people. Essentially, this explanation argues that when people are exposed to pro-social behaviour on TV and other sources of the media, they then become influenced by it. For example, if a character in a TV programme does something helpful, this explanation would argue that the person, who is exposed to this pro-social behaviour, would be affected by what they are seeing and this would then mean that they will copy that pro-social behaviour and also become helpful in real life.

Greenberg carried out an analysis of popular children’s programmes in the US and found that there were an equivalent number of pro-social and antisocial acts. This shows us that the media does provide us with pro-social acts and it also shows us that we are exposed to these pro-social behaviours even though at times we may not be aware of it.
Woodard carried out a research which showed
that 77% of children's programmes in the US contained pro-social messages. So, according to this explanation, anyone, who watches these children’s programmes, would be exposed to the pro-social acts and then they would copy the pro social acts and display them in real life situations. However, having said that, this research is ethnocentric as it was carried out in the US. This means that we cannot generalise the results to the rest of the population as it is culturally biased. For example, in other parts of the world, children may only be exposed to antisocial behaviour in TV programmes and yet they still behave in a pro-social way. This, therefore, raises the question as to whether or not the media can actually have a positive effect on individuals who are being exposed to pro-social behaviour-it might just be the person’s personality that is causing them to show pro-social behaviours rather than the media influencing that person.

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One strength of this explanation is the fact it is realistic to an extent. For example, it seems realistic that if a child is exposed to pro-social acts on TV, they would then get influenced by what they are seeing, and this would then lead them into copying that pro social behaviour. There has been a lot cases where children, who have watched programmes such as Bob the builder, have copied what they have seen in these programmes and then used what they have witnessed to help their friends and families to solve a problem. Another strength of this ...

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