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Influences of Television on Adolescents and Young Adults

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Influences of Television on Adolescents and Young Adults

Kristin Matchett

Lone Star College- University Park


There was three television shows reviewed that are popular among children and teenagers. The three television shows were analyzed for gender stereotyping, verbal aggression, physical aggression, and reward and punishment. Two of the television shows that were reviewed showed no gender stereotyping and also no physical aggression. However, only one television program had no instances of verbal aggression. Due to how people learn in various situations, there were reward and punishment examples in all three programs. As you watch programs meant for older viewers, you tend to come across more examples of gender stereotyping, verbal aggression, physical aggression, and reward and punishment. Therefore, after watching all three programs I believe that anything we watch or listen to from a very early age has the ability to impact a viewers learning, aggression, moral, and sex development.

Influences of Television on Adolescents and Young Adults

The intention of television programs vary as the viewer grows older. When watching educational children’s programs for young viewers the content of the program is aimed towards educational purposes rather than entertainment purposes. As the viewer begins to grow older and become able to watch shows such as Spongebob, Courage the Cowardly Dog, or Adventure Time they become more focused on entertainment aspects. There is more aggression verbally and physically in those meant for older viewers. Watching shows such as Grey’s Anatomy or Pretty Little Liars, character’s moral, judgment, and actions become more questionable. Currently, television programs are full with aspects that impact viewers learning ability, aggression, and sex role development. Directors and Writers of these programs are beginning to come up with ways to entertain and surprise viewers by negative occurrences rather than educate them by creating shows with powerful lessons and outcomes. It is needless to say that television affects viewers not only at a young age as they develop, but also at a more mature age.

One educational children’s episode content was analyzed for gender stereotyping, verbal aggression, physical aggression, sex role development, and reward and punishment. Barney & Friends, did not contain any gender stereotyping, verbal aggression, or physical aggression. In fact, Play Ball-season four, episode ten- showed that there were no gender stereotypes when it comes to playing with balls. Barney and the children sang a song that said, “balls are for girls, balls are for boys, that’s why so many kids around the world are playing with these toys”(White, 1997,12:30). This immediately put a stop to the gender stereotyping of sports. The kids then went on to tell their favorite sport that included a ball. Even when the kids were acting out and guessing the sport, the writer did an excellent job of eliminating gender stereotypes. Towards the end of the episode a song about exercising was sung by Barney (White, 1997,12:30).

. Just a simple song can affect a child’s learning habits by encouraging the kids that exercise is important and also fun. In the episode the squirrel, Scooter, encouraged the pushing of the red button that Barney told the kids not to push. The other forest animal quickly reminded the squirrel that it wouldn’t be very nice because Barney told the kids not to push it because something bad would happen. The ball machine produces a giant ball and when Barney blows it up the kids start fighting over the one toy. Because of their fighting, Barney then explains to the kids how they need to share and be kind to others when there is only one toy. He explains that the kids shouldn’t be selfish that way they can all have fun. Barney insists that it’s “great to learn to wait your turn” (White, 1997,12:30).

The second children’s program observed was Spongebob Squarepants:Procrastination (season 2 episode 17A), a non-educational children’s show. During this episode there is no gender stereotyping or physical aggression. However, there is instances of verbal aggression and reward and punishment.  In this episode Mrs. Puff, Spongebob’s boating school teacher assigns an essay on what not to do at a stop light. The essay must be no less than 800 words and it’s due the next day at class. Mrs. Puff warns the students that goofing off will hinder their performance. Despite what Mrs. Puff said, Spongebob distracts himself with various things such as nature outside his window, feeding his snail named Gary, the carnival, his friends, etc. Spongebob is ultimately trying to do anything he can to avoid writing his paper (Hillenburg, 2001, 13:00). During this episode of Spongebob there are only a few instances of verbal aggression. Spongebob, excited for the assignment as he sits anxiously in boating class, his classmate got in his face and mocked his excitement for learning. Another instance is when Spongebob calls Patrick late at night knowing he should be writing his paper. Patrick, who is trying to sleep, explains to Spongebob that he needs to get back to writing his paper and not procrastinating. This angers Spongebob and he begins to shout at Patrick who eventually just hangs up. After procrastinating for so long, Spongebob woke up at 9am to realize that he never wrote his paper. He panicked and wrote his whole paper in less than an hour just to show up to class and have Mrs. Puff tell him that she had tried to call him to let him know that the paper was cancelled and they’re now just going to go on a field trip to a stop light paper (Hillenburg, 2001, 13:00). I feel like this episode can definitely affect a child’s learning, aggression, and also motivation to do well in life. Procrastination is bad in every area of your life. It can lead to failing grades, loss of jobs, and just pure irresponsibility. The verbal aggression in this episode shows that it’s okay raise your voice when you get angry at others and to mock others when they’re doing something that you may not think is “cool”.



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