A Hearty High Ho DUH

I’m not sure what’s more frightening – to think of the amount of money spent on this study, or to think that this study was necessary in the first place, or the fact that there are those prepared to discount the findings of the study.  

If what kids watch on TV (and by extension, listen to on the radio, see at the movies, play on their iPods, etc. and so forth on) does not contribute to measurable behavioral changes, then why are we so obsessive about setting good examples for our kids?  Common wisdom, borne out of a *lot* of experience, says that kids tend to emulate and imitate.  This is part of the learning process.  Monkey see, monkey do, for you Darwinists.  If kids see mom and dad exhibiting a particular behavior, they’re going to be more likely to assume that te behaviour is acceptable for themselves.  If mom and dad aren’t around as much, and kids are watching a lot of TV, they’re going to imitate what they see on television to some degree.  Not universally, of course, and not always to the same degree.  But in addition to the idea of desensitization , we have the issue that kids – and teens still fall into this category – pick up a lot of ideas about what to think and believe and do, based on the input they receive.
We quit showing drinking on television for the most part, didn’t we?  We banned hard liquor ads on television, didn’t we?  We’ve pretty much eliminated smoking from most of our TV shows, didn’t we?  Why?  Because there was an understanding that, in part, kids that were watching this stuff were getting dangerous messages.  Why don’t we treat sex the same way?  Why would anyone feel that you can fill prime-time with shows targeting teens and involving a lot of sexual promiscuity, and there won’t be some correlation – or even causation – to be found between viewing habits and sexual activity?  Why are some people – doctors and other ‘experts’, no less – attempting to argue that this is inaccurate, or not to be trusted?
For that matter, I’d be interested in seeing studies that examined adult behavior and viewing patterns.  It might be harder to determine the direction of correlation or causality, but I’m sure that some broad generalized truths could be asserted.  And I doubt they would differ a lot from the assertions of this study.  Food for thought.  Garbage In Garbage Out.

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