Children, parents and prosocial television for children: Accounting for viewing and looking for effects

Kimberly Duyck Woolf, University of Pennsylvania


The present research was designed to assess viewing and behavioral effects of prosocial content designed for children at a time when such programs were proliferating to meet the FCC requirements for educational television for children. The project was a secondary data analysis of the 1997 and 2002 Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a national longitudinal survey of children and their caregivers. This research examined the child and family characteristics that predicted viewing of child prosocial content among three to twelve year olds, as well as the long term stability of viewing such content. It also examined the cross-sectional and lagged effects of children's prosocial programming on children's prosocial behavior. Finally, the role of parental mediation in both viewing prosocial programming for children and the effects such content has on their behavior was also explored. ^ The child's age was the primary predictor of viewing prosocial programs for children, although time in school and presence of a younger sibling also significantly influenced viewing. Viewing declined with age from its peak at age three through adolescence. In the cross-sectional analyses, coviewing prosocial content with a parent interacted with age to produce increased viewing of such content among older children. Coviewing this content with parents also had a lagged effect on all children's child prosocial viewing five years later. No other significant relationships with viewing child prosocial content were found. ^ Viewing child prosocial content was not stable over time. Furthermore, no significant cross-sectional or lagged relationships were found between viewing child prosocial content and prosocial behavior among these children. Parental mediation was not a moderator of this relationship. Results suggest that a better understanding of children's perception of prosocial content and the relationships among behaviors that are labeled prosocial in television content are needed. ^

Subject Area

Speech Communication|Mass Communications

Recommended Citation

Woolf, Kimberly Duyck, "Children, parents and prosocial television for children: Accounting for viewing and looking for effects" (2009). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3395728.