The Long-Range Impact of Television.

by George A. Comstock


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The long-range effects of television involve the repetitive occurrence of immediate effects, cumulative or delayed effects, or immediate effects that are contingent on content present only with the evolution of the medium. Three long-range effects appear to be: (1) Diminution of parental control over the introduction into the home of topics and issues. No longer is adult reserve sufficient for effective censorship. (2) The reallocation of scarce personal time away from family interaction, social gatherings, book reading, conversing, and household tasks. The real cost is in foregone alternatives. (3) Challenging the dominance of parents, teachers, and peers in the socialization process. Evidence from research does not support the contention that TV contravenes parents; it is most influential when alternative sources are absent. Parents play a large role in shaping motives that lead young viewers to the medium and in shaping the interpretations and influences of what is viewed. 11 pp. Ref.

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