Presenting Prosocial TV Messages to Early Adolescents

By Tatyana Dumova and Richard Fiordo.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The scientific interest in adolescence goes back to Plato and Aristotle. Contemporary science distinguishes early adolescence as a focal time in children’s physical, cognitive, moral, and social development as well as the beginning of a complex transition from childhood to adulthood. According to the 1995 report of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, a significant number of youths in early adolescence accept risk-taking behavior and internalize antisocial behavioral patterns that may stay with them throughout life. This risky antisocial behavior requires profound attention and intervention on the part of the family, school, and community at large. The Carnegie report suggested that social scientists concentrate on preventive strategies, including the constructive use of the mass media. Yet, more than ten years after the report, the positive role that mass media and television can play in these efforts remains mostly untapped. The present study had two aims: (a) to characterize, analyze, and identify strategies for presenting prosocial messages in a local TV program for youth in early adolescence—News Six; and, (b) to develop recommendations for community mass media activists and producers of children’s TV programming. A content analysis of 114 News Six program episodes indicates that a locally oriented television series in which young people create and share stories about their communities, research various aspects of community life, interview local residents, write news reports, and host a TV show may teach constructive lessons of involvement and responsibility to family, school, community, and society as a whole. The study suggests that the development of prosocial programs for early adolescents featuring real-life positive role models from the community may contribute to children’s well-being and ultimately help young viewers become better members of society.

Keywords: Early Adolescents, Television, Local, Prosocial, Message, Content Analysis

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.397-406. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 574.712KB).

Dr. Tatyana Dumova

Assistant Professor, School of Communication, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA

Dr. Richard Fiordo

Professor, School of Communication, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA


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