Research and the Constructive Aspects of Television in Children's Lives: A Forecast.

by George A. Comstock

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One influence of the Surgeon General's study of television violence is increased recognition of the many effects of television that merit study. Recently prosocial effects of television have become of predominant interest among social scientists. These effects include: sharing, helping, sympathy, cooperation, aesthetic appreciation and increasing cognitive and perceptual capabilities. This trend toward research in prosocial effects is contingent on resolving the issues of: (1) justifying manipulation of the audience, and (2) theoretical conflicts that need to be analyzed in a systematic way. To be effective, the research will have to take into account broadcasting realities. The results of the studies must have high credibility. The gains from increasing television's positive influence on children are great enough to justify such research despite the many problems just outlined. For the immediate future pioneering in this direction will continue. Whether or not the television viewed by children will ever be different as a result is not certain. 12 pp. Bibliog.

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