Physical aggression: harms other through physical injury (pushing, hitting, kicking, or punching others or destroying others’ property).
Verbal aggression: harms others through threats of physical aggression, name-calling, or hostile teasing.
Relational aggression: damage’s another’s peer relationship through social exclusion, malicious gossip, or friendship manipulation.
Keeping these definitions in mind, select a 30-60 minute television program normally watched by children from each of the following categories (three total):
Educational television program, such as Sesame Street or Rogers’ Neighborhood (can find on YouTube).
Saturday morning cartoon (can be current or old).
Early evening (usually prior to 9:00 pm) adult program that is watched by young children, such as a family or situation comedy, reality show, a crime film, etc. (e.g., The Big Bang Theory, The Middle, New Girl, The Mick. Lethal Weapon, Hell’s Kitchen…). The show may be one-hour long, but you only need to record examples of violence for the first half-hour.
For each program you watch, record the number of violent episodes, separating the instances of verbal and physical violence. Place your data in a table.
For full credit, homework should include the following items:
Notes on each program watched, including name of show, time of day aired, and violent incidences and consequences during the show.
A graph of your data (see example below)
A 2-3 page write up (in paragraph form) including the information below.
Answer the following questions (in detail and in paragraph form):
(1) Describe the type(s) of aggression found in each type of show?
(2) Do the numbers of violent episodes per program correspond to the numbers found by Nancy Signorelli in 1985 (approximately 2 violent episodes per hour in sit coms and 8 per hour in action/adventure shows) or have these numbers changed in the last 3 decades (if so, how and why)?
(3)What about the consequences of aggression in the television programs? Are those who act violently rewarded or punished? How often do reward and punishment occur?
(4) What behaviors other than aggression might a child have learned from watching the programs you viewed? This question is particularly relevant for Sesame Street or Rogers, but applies to more traditional entertainment programs as well. (5) In view of the material in the textbook, and your own observations for this project, what rules or limits (if any) would you place on TV viewing for your own children (now or future)? Why? Would limits be age-dependent? Why/How?
Big Bang Theory