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Television and other media have major influences on the modifiable children of today nevertheless the gradual mind-manipulation process is often neglected For teenagers peers can play a powerful role but the media too often influences them Unhealthy attitudes learned from the media during childhood may be put into action during adolescence with adverse consequences Although there remains considerable controversy about the media and their effects on human behavior much information is already known either directly through research or intuitively Television is by far the most significant medium by time criteria alone American children and adolescents spend twenty-two to twenty-eight hours per week viewing television--more time than any other activity except sleeping Bandera 98 However the real question is What exactly are media teaching children Given the sheer amount of time that American young people spend with this medium one might think that its influence would be a forgone conclusion Nevertheless to date television remains dismissed by many observers as mere entertainment or fantasy Unfortunately children and adolescents do not view it as either Perhaps many adults are quick to decline the influence of television because they do not want to admit that they too have been influenced by it For children television represents the real world and gives secret glimpses of teenage and adult behavior which appears attractive to curious minds The role-modeling aspect of television although frequently overlooked is crucial to understanding its influence Children in particular learn to behave by imitating attractive role models include those present on the screen of their living room as well Contrary to popular belief people rarely imitate what they see in the media immediately and directly Rather television exerts a far more subtle and insidious effect by shaping viewers attitudes and perception of social norms Rockwell One group of researchers refers to this as stalagmite effects--cognitive deposits built up almost imperceptibly from the drip-drip-drip of televisions electronic limewater Gerber 135 For example television may offer older
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