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Psychology: A Case Study on the Effects of various forms of Media on Family life and changing Value Systems

#3 Aditya Anupkumar

Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

The past few years have seen a great influx of Television Channels and Entertainment programs into the Indian market. A whole lot more Indianized shows, serials, and events have all led to a new awareness in a new Generation. Sports, News, Music and Entertainment, Cartoons, Live-Action, Puppets, Lifestyle, Life and Science,, Engineering, History and Quiz, Wrestling, Saas-Bahu shows and even some weird Sautan-Saheli ones!theres truly something for everyone to see. The concerns with this great influx are primarily of the quality of matter portrayed, and the fraying of the innocence of children and adults alike, and of Society as a whole due to the changing demographics (age groups watching TV together) of these times... For example, there are concerns today of the exorbitant amounts of sex and violence, and decaying moral and ethical standards portrayed on TV and Films affecting children, teenagers, and even adults! As films and serials deal with such bold subjects of family life, teenage life and of violence and sex in day-to-day life situations, many are concerned that perhaps these portrayals inspire the mimicking of such behavior in our day-to-day life, rather than acting as a threat/deterrent to (i.e. spreading awareness and thus helping prevent) such activities. In addition, we see the rise of consumerism in Indiawith the change in demographics and money-power towards the middle-class, we are bombarded with increased advertising. Todays advertisers and Marketers dont just try to sell you that latest car or gadget; cola or burger or pizza; chocolate or detergenta lot of them target the most easily reachable, agreeable to new ideas, and susceptible parts of societythe children. With these challenges, it is essential that we ask questions about the effects of TV programs and advertising on Children, Parents, the overall Parent-Child Relationship; and its consequences on Society; and it is the very aim of this Case Study

Aditya Anupkumar #3

Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

Objective: To acquire and analyze data relating to various trends within Society todaythe effects of Television and Advertising on Family life and the Parent-Child relationship. Sample Size: 42 Subjects 21 Adults, 21 Children Target Group: Adults with Children between the ages of 2-13

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

Questionnaire: Parents

(1) How have the increase in TV channels and the consequent increase in the various forms of entertainment affected the parent-child relationship? (2) How have the various programs on TV affected your childrens Value Systems? (3) How have TV programs affected your childrens aspirations / goals in life? (4) In what way have TV commercials affected the demands your children make? (5) What time allowances do you make for your children, for TV? What programs do you recommend your children watchand what do they watch? (6) How does the programming content, and time spent on TV affect your childrens performance in classes/exams? Questionnaire: Children

(1) What channel is your favorite? (2) What is your favorite TV program / character? (3) What is your favorite TV commercial / advertisement? (4) How many hours of TV do you watch at home? (5) How does TV affect your studies? (6) What do your parents think of TV-viewing? Do you watch what they recommend or otherwise?

Aditya Anupkumar #3

Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

What parents felt/said:


Most parents had similar feelings towards the 6 questions (tabular and pie data provided later) In response to Question 1 (How have the increase in TV channels and the consequent increase in the various forms of entertainment affected the parent-child relationship?); Parents said: They all felt that as the dedicated TV timeand the number of Television programs increasedthe quality of parent-child interaction decreased substantially. Indeed, it was occasionally noted, that with the increasing amounts of entertainment available to parents and childrenand the consequent occasional clashes in timings (between Parents shows and Childrens shows, and between Childrens shows and their school-work times) led to arguments over what to watch, and the limits of argument varied with each scenario. It was only in extreme cases (mostly seen in Father-Son relations) that the viewing of programs actually strengthened ties within the familythis was largely restricted to sports such as Cricket games involving India, or other sports such as Football and Formula 1. In terms of percentage, though, nearly 57% said that the overall experience of TV was beneficial. In terms of numbers, only Men found TV viewing to be totally beneficial to developing better relations with their childrenusually through watching Sports. The majority of women were ambiguous on their ratings. In response to Question 2 (How have the various programs on TV affected your childrens Value Systems?); Parents said: Here the answer was found to be non-committal (50+ %), largely because of the ages of most of the children. Most parents felt that their children were still too young to have established Value Systems, and felt that these would only be manifest at a later stageabout 80% very positive all the same.

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study Parents however did express their reservations over the quality of programming (or rather the lack of it) and the possibly adverse effects in the future if not watched carefully.

No parent truly cited TV as being completely unfavorable, but it was only women who held reservations against it. In response to Question 3 (How have TV programs affected your childrens aspirations / goals in life?); Parents said: They largely felt that the increase in TV channels also increased the awareness of the different types of paths one may take in life and felt that their children would be better prepared for life through this. They felt that TV also opened up new avenues for their children (especially in fields of Broadcast Journalism, Film and Nature Studies) They were also largely unanimous (90% positive rating) in pointing out that such facilities also made children more aware of how the world actually works, though they expressed some reservation about how this new awareness affects the innocence of childhood. Indeed, the only negative rating was due to some children who watched Wrestling and other such violent programming, leading to parents being worried about the effects of this violence on their children / and the worry about possible consequent violent behavior in the children. In response to Question 4 (In what way have TV commercials affected the demands your children make?); Parents said: Parents were largely agreed that Children today are much more brand-aware and brand-conscious. Whether that was a good thing or bad wasnt necessarily agreed upon, but the fact that advertisers today target kids more than they do their parents seemed to be the general feeling among parents. The result of this enthusiasm was that approximately 71% of the respondents believed that this new-found brand awareness is a good thing and an integral part of growth and development in an increasingly wired and sophisticated world.

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

In response to Question 5 (What time allowances do you make for your children, for TV? What programs do you recommend your children watchand what do they watch?); Parents said: Most parents were agreed that children should watch between 1-2 hours of TV at the most. They also felt that children should rather watch the types of shows one would find on channels like The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, National Geographic and Animal Planet. Channels like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon received a few votes but most parents were supportive rather of the first group. 81% of the parents felt that their children watched a reasonably large amount of educational shows and found their childrens TV viewing habits to be acceptableagain, this data was due more to the young age of the children In response to Question 6 (How does the programming content, and time spent on TV affect your childrens performance in classes/exams?); Parents said: Most parents felt that their children could and should be doing better, while a lot said that their children were simply too young to worry about grades, and that they should look to strike a healthy balance between educational and entertainment programs. Only 57% of the parents actually felt that their children were doing well in school, while still expressing reservations about the effects of TV. A few (19%) were starkly against TV) while about 14% said that their children did well irrespective.

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

Parent Response Tallies (Single vote per adult; M=Male, F=Female)


How have the increase in TV channels and the consequent increase in the various forms of entertainment affected the parent-child relationship? Favorable: Assists in Interaction MMMM Favorable: n/a FMMFF FMF Unfavorable: n/a MFMFF FF Unfavorable: Deterrent to Interaction FM

How have the various programs on TV affected your childrens Value Systems? Favorable: Assists in improved systems FMM Favorable: n/a MFFMM FFMFM FF Unfavorable: n/a FFFF Unfavorable: Deters development of good values

How have TV programs affected your childrens aspirations / goals in life? Favorable: Has given them ambition greater than otherwise FFMMF FFFM Favorable: n/a MMMMF MFMFF Unfavorable: n/a MF Unfavorable: seems degenerative

In what way have TV commercials affected the demands your children make? Favorable: Has made them brand conscious MFFFF FMFF Favorable: n/a MMFMF F Unfavorable: n/a MMMM Unfavorable: Very demanding FM

What programs do you recommend your children watchand what do they watch? Favorable: They watch good programs that Id recommend FMMMM FF Favorable: Mix of all programs MFMMM FFFMF Unfavorable: Mix of all programs MFF Unfavorable: They watch undesirable programs F

How does the programming content, and time spent on TV affect your childrens performance in classes/exams? Favorable: They learn a lot, good GK Favorable: n/a Unfavorable: n/a Unfavorable: Its bad for their education Aditya Anupkumar #3

FMF MMMFM FMFF MFMMF FFFM

Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study Favorability Ratings

Question 1
38% Favorable Favorable (less) 19% 10% Unfavorable (less) Unfavorable

33%

Question 2
0% Favorable Favorable (less) Unfavorable (less) 63% Unfavorable

21%

16%

Question 3
10% 0% 43% 47%

Favorable Favorable (less) Unfavorable (less) Unfavorable

Aditya Anupkumar #3

Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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Question 4

10% 19% 42%

Favorable Favorable (less) Unfavorable (less)

29%

Unfavorable

Question 5

14%

5% 33%

Favorable Favorable (less) Unfavorable (less)

48%

Unfavorable

Question 6
Favorable Favorable (less) 24% 43% Unfavorable (less) Unfavorable

19%

14%

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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What the children felt/said:


This survey allowed for multiple responses as it was better focused upon brands and shows. In response to Question 1 (What channel is your favorite?); Children said: Most children responded that they liked a variety of channelsranging from Discovery, Animal Planet, National Geographic and the History Channel, to POGO, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and AniMAX. They also said they liked channels like ESPN, STAR Sports, Ten Sports, Sony, channels on the STAR network, etc. 36% Held Cartoons as their first preference, 18% as Kids entertainment channels 25% for Sports and 14% for Science. One point of note was that only boys picked Sports Channels as their choice. In response to Question 2 (What is your favorite TV program / character?); Children said: Children put forward a variety of names of Cartoon Characters, Puppets, Actors and Actresses, and Sportspersons and Celebrities. Only boys picked Sports Celebrities and Sports as their favorite characters and programs. Overall, 43% went for Cartoon characters, while 22% went for Sportsmen and Live Action / Puppet-type characters each. In response to Question 3 (What is your favorite TV commercial / advertisement?); Children said: Coke and Pepsi were the dominant choices for most memorable commercials, picking up a share of 36 percent, while 32% was sports-related advertising and 23% was related to Fast Food chains. Though not evident, in terms of Individual products, Dominos advertisements actually had the best recall among most Children Pepsi with youth Idols Sachin Tendulkar and Shahrukh Khan followed closely behind Dominos

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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In response to Question 4 (How many hours of TV do you watch at home?); Children said: Some 38% responded saying they watched between 1.5-3 hours of TV (generally hovering around 2) while 24% said they watched less than 1.5 hours. 33% said they watched between 3 and 4.5 hours which was a staggering amount. In response to Question 5 (How does TV affect your studies?); Children said: Only about 20% of the children responded saying that TV affected their studies unfavorably. The ones who responded with unfavorable self-ratings were actually those who had fixed goals in mind. In response to Question 6 (What do your parents think of TV-viewing? Do you watch what they recommend or otherwise?); Children said: Finally, about 70% said that their parents viewed their overall TV watching habits as unfavorable if only mildly so. This of course, was in stark contrast to the parents interviews, where about 57% of the parents seemed to think that their children were doing OK; though this discrepancy can probably be explained by the difference between OK and Favorable.

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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Children Response Tallies (multiple votes per child, due to variations in TV habits, multiple answers)
What is your favorite channel? Cartoon Network, Animax Pogo, Nickelodeon Animal Planet, National Geographic Discovery, The History Channel ESPN, STAR Sports, Ten Sports What is your favorite TV program / character? Cartoon Character Puppet / Live Action Sports person Wrestler/etc Scientific / Quiz / Reality What is your favorite TV commercial / advertisement? Fast food: McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Dominos, etc Colas: Pepsi, Coke, etc Chocolates/Sweets: Cadburys, Nestle, etc Sports Equipment: Nike, Adidas / Luxury Items: TAG Heuer, LOreal, etc How many hours of TV do you watch at home? 1-1.5 1.5-3 3-4.5 4.5-6 How does TV affect your studies? Favorable: Increased Knowledge Favorable: n/a Unfavorable: n/a Unfavorable: Adversely MFFMM FFMMM MFFMF FM MFMF MMMMM MM

MFMFF MMMMM MFMF / F MMMMM M MF

MFMMF MMMMM MMM MF MMMFM MM

MMMMF MFMMF MMM MFMFF MM F

FMMMM F MFMFM MFFMF M MMFM M

What do your parents think of TV-viewing? Do you watch what they recommend or otherwise? Favorable: They agree with your viewing habits MMFMM MM Favorable: n/a MFFMM FFM Unfavorable: n/a MFMMF Unfavorable: Not too good M

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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Question 1
Cartoons Channels 25% 36% Childrens Entertainment Nature Channels 14% 7% 18% Science and History Sports, etc

Question 2
9% 4% 22% 43% Cartoon Character Puppet/Live Action Sports person Wrestler 22% Science/Quiz/R eality

Question 3

32%

23% Fast Food Colas Chocolates Sports, Misc 36%

9%

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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Question 4

5%

24% 1-1.5 hours 1.5-3 hours 3-4.5 hours 4.5-6 hours 38%

33%

Question 5
5% 18% 27% Favorably (less) Unfavorably (less) 50% Unfavorably Favorably

Question 6

13%

13% 17%

Favorable Favorable (less) Unfavorable (less)

57%

Unfavorable

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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Conclusion:
A child sitting with a remote of what is popularly called the idiot box could watch anything from cartoons to programs with murders and sexual content, not suitable for such young minds. Television characters are often exaggerated stereotypes that can distort childrens expectations of people in day-to-day life. They may develop distorted views of society because, although television has changed over the years, women, young people, and the elderly still do not appear on the screen as often as they do in real life. Topics such as drug abuse, alcoholism, and sex may also be brought to the child's attention sooner than necessary. In addition, children often have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality on TV. Although there are potential benefits from viewing some television shows, such as learning positive aspects of social behavior like sharing and cooperation, many negative health effects can also result. Research shows primary negative health effects on aggressive behavior; sexuality; academic performance; body concept and self-image; nutrition, dieting, and obesity; and substance abuse. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the messages conveyed through television, which influence what they think and how they behave. People have blamed the television for children throwing themselves off the roofs and risking their lives doing dangerous stunts in an attempt to copy superheroes and models in advertisements. Some even believe that brutality on television could be the direct cause for juvenile crime. Programs that show huge wrestlers fighting with each other to excite a screaming public, and even seemingly innocuous cartoons like Tom and Jerrywhere they are seen constantly bashing each othersend certain messages to children. Through such violent programs children get the idea that violence is a means to power. While not overtly expressed, a lot of parents seemed to be worried about the Violence and Sex portrayed on TV and in Film today, and felt that it could lead to undesirable traits in their children; though one mother put it well, when she said that change is constant, and theres nothing you can do about it, but trying to channel that change and growth. Indeed, many parents said that they did/would take steps to ensure that the quality of programming their children watched remained high.

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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On the whole, parents believed that the trade-off between the possible evils of TV and the benefits derived from television was an acceptable one; and it seemed obvious that their children were better off with Television than without (except in a few cases, where the child seemed very disinterested in Study, but even then, there was a keen interest in Sports) In terms of advertising and the rising consumer culture, parents also believed that such awareness about brands would be helpful to their children, even while they expressed reservations over the child-targeted advertising, as they felt that it was unethical to target a part of the audience that does not completely understand the purpose of advertising itself.

Recommendations made by Dr. NDTV for such phenomena were (full article in Secondary Data): Violence on the screen: The three major effects of viewing TV violence are: 1. Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. 2. Children may be more fearful of the world around them. 3. Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. Parents can limit the effects of violence: (1) View TV together and discuss the violence with the child. Talk about why the violence happened and how painful it is. Ask the child how conflicts can be solved without violence. (2) Explain to your child how violence on an entertainment program is actually "fake" (3) Restrict violent videos. (4) Encourage your child to watch programs with characters that cooperate, help, and care for each other. These programs have been shown to have a positive influence on children. (5) Read to your child rather than watch television. Children's stories, written by thoughtful authors, portray conflict in a more realistic and constructive manner. Advertisements

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study There is evidence that children younger than 6 or even 8 years of age do not

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understand that the purpose of advertising is to sell a product. Also, children have trouble distinguishing between ads and programs. Yet, the average child may see more than 20,000 TV commercials each year. In addition, there are some television programs for children which have frequent and long commercials for expensive toys and games. Although, advertising helps to support the programs on commercial television, scientists have found that advertising can cause children to "want" toys or foods that they do not need and that their families cannot afford. In addition to the tension that may arise in families, many parents feel that advertising encourages their children to be too concerned about "things" rather than people. It is important that parents tell their children that the purpose of advertising is to sell products to as many viewers as possible only. Monitoring television viewing Children are very impressionable and it is important to control what their minds are exposed to. Pediatricians recommend the following guidelines for parents:
1. Limit the amount of time children spend in watching TV to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day. 2. Remove television sets from children's bedrooms 3. Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together. 4. Monitor the shows children and adolescents are viewing. Most programs should be informational, educational, and nonviolent or programs which demonstrate helping, caring and cooperation. 5. View television programs along with children, and discuss the content. Two recent surveys involving a total of nearly 1500 parents found that less than half of parents reported always watching television with their children. 6. Set a weekly viewing limit. At the beginning of the week, have your child select programs you approve of from television schedules. 7. Rule out TV at certain times such as meal times and sleeping hours. 8. Remember that children learn from their parents. If you watch a lot of TV, chances are your child will also. 9. Parents should work out a timetable for watching television with their children. 10. Discuss with your child what is real and what is make-believe on TV. Explain how television uses stunt actors, camera zooms, dream sequences and animation to create fantasy.

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study Bibliography (1) The Impact of Television Advertising on Children : http://www.wacc.org.uk/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=309 (2) Children and television viewing : Dr. NDTV : http://www.doctorndtv.com/feature/detailarchivefeature.asp?id=80 (3) Children and TV Violence : Teresa Barat : Boloji.com : http://www.boloji.com/wfs/wfs017.htm (4) Buy-Buy Kids : Charumati Supraja : Boloji.com : http://www.boloji.com/wfs2/wfs263.htm

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Aditya Anupkumar #3

Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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Secondary Data / Annexure

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Psychology: The growing effects of Mass Media on Family Life: A Case Study

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Copyright Information All information used in this project is meant for academic purposes only and is cited, and thus subject to the laws of Fair Use.

Aditya Anupkumar 2005

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