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Intervention reduces children’s viewing of violent TV

A team of OSU researchers has successfully implemented a classroom-based intervention that reduces the amount of violent TV that kids watch. The result, according to lead author professor Lawrence Rosenkoetter, was an 18% reduction in violent TV viewing that was maintained eight months after concluding the intervention.“We have a significant body of research that shows that kids that watch violent TV tend to be more violent, tend to overestimate the prevalence of crime, and think the world is more dangerous than it is,” says associate professor Sharon Rosenkoetter, a co-author of the study along with professor Alan Acock.The study was published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology earlier this year.

The classroom-based intervention focuses on getting kids to make better viewing choices, rather than telling them to turn off the TV entirely.The program includes 28 lessons (20-30 minutes each) administered over six months.During the lessons, researchers gave highly interactive lessons that included clips from TV shows and asked students to critically think about the messages.After the intervention, students identified less with violent superheroes and had expressed more critical attitudes of violence on TV.

“Getting kids to watch less violent television is crucial,” says Lawrence Rosenkoetter.“We compare it to the kids like eating junk food versus eating healthy food that makes you grow strong.We tell them, there is junk TV and nutritious TV and here’s how you tell the difference.They really get the comparison.”