Highlights of NIMH report say it's what a child watches on TV

TV and aggression:

''Children learn from watching television and what they learn depends on what they watch.

''If [children] look at violent or aggressive programs, they tend to become more aggressive and disobedient. But if they look at prosocial programs, they will more likely become more generous, friendly, self-controlled.

''Children who watch a lot of violence on television may come to accept violence as normal behavior.

''Children in preschool who often watched cartoons with a great deal of violence were the most aggressive.

''If children see a television character rewarded for aggressive behavior, they will probably imitate that behavior . . . The persistence of the behavior, however, seems to be related to the children's own reinforcement, in other words , if the children themselves are rewarded or punished.'' TV and education:

''Two years after television was introduced to (a Canadian town), its children's verbal fluency scores on standarized tests decreased significantly. . . .

''Television may replace activities, such as reading, that are known to stimulate imagination and word knowledge.

''After they watched Sesame Street with special inserts of nonwhite children, a group of 3-to-5-year-old children preferred to play with nonwhite children. Children who had not seen the inserts did not show these preferences.'' TV and society:

''People who are heavy viewers of television are more apt to think the world is violent than are light viewers. They also trust other people less and believe that the world is a mean and scary place.

''Television has become a major socializing agent of American children.

''There are more men than women on entertainment television, and the men on the average are older. The men are mostly strong and manly, the women usually passive and feminine.'' TV and the family

''Family gatherings by the fireplace or at the dinner table now seem to have given way to gatherings in front of the television set.

''Parents do not exert much control over television viewing in most families.

''Parents, teachers and older brothers and sisters are probably most important in determining television programming effects on children.

''There are indications of rising parental concern.''

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