Children’s Perceptions of Televised Fiction

by Hope Klapper



The major reason for studying whether or not children perceive televised fiction as an accurate reflection of social reality has been the quite logical assumption that material perceived as realistic is more likely to influence a child's beliefs, role definitions, social expectations and the like than is material judged as unrealistic. One of the major objectives of this study is to test this assumption. The substantive content of this study centers on children's perceptions of the realism or unrealism of televised fiction. The broader goal is further insight into the dynamic and complex interaction between the child and television and the role played by television in childhood socialization. The consequences of televised fiction for a child are in part a consequence of the child. The term "consequence" was chosen rather than "effect" because effect is used so often in the relevant literature to refer to fairly simplistic cause-effect relationships. There is no way to know all the consequences of television for a child, nor how long they last or how they are stored in the memory.

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