Would it be better for children to watch less educational television and more violent television?

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The more educational media the children watched, the more relationally aggressive they wereThey were increasingly bossy, controlling, and manipulative. This wasn’t a small effect. It was stronger than the connection between violent media and physical aggression. Curious why this could be, Ostrov’s team sat down and watched several programs on PBS, Nickelodeon, and the Disney Channel. Ostrov saw that, in some shows, relational aggression is modeled at a fairly high rate. Ostrov theorized that many educational shows spend most of the half-hour establishing a conflict between characters and only a few minutes resolving that conflict…

More exposure to violent media did increase the rate of physical aggression shown at school—however, it did so only modestly. In fact, watching educational television also increased the rate of physical aggression, almost as much as watching violent TV. And just like in the Minnesota study, educational television had a dramatic effect on relational aggression. The more the kids watched, the crueler they’d be to their classmates. This correlation was 2.5 times higher than the correlation between violent media and physical aggression.

This is from the very interesting book NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children. Highly recommended.

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