Television Viewing and Perception of Social Reality Among Native American Adolescents

Television Viewing and Perception of Social Reality Among Native American Adolescents

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Intercultural Communication Studies VI: 1 1996 J. Kang, S. Andersen, & M Pfau 75 Television Viewing and Perception of Social Reality Among Native American Adolescents Jong G. Kang Illinois State University Stephen S. Andersen Michael Pfau Augustana College University of Wisconsin, Madison Abstract Since the 1960s, communication scholars have attempted to examine television's contributions to viewers' perceptions of a wide variety of topics and issues. Unfortunately, little effort has been made to investigate the influence of television on adolescents' perceptions of social reality. This study investigates the relationship between television viewing and perceptions of social reality among Native American adolescents. It examines the relationship between television viewing and perceptions of sexism, sex roles, mean world, and television reality held by adolescents on five Indian reservations in South Dakota. It also attempts to examine how television viewing is integrated into these adolescents' lives and how television has become an important socializing factor among these Native Americans, who are very much unlike mainstream Americans in their culture, traditions, morality, and values. Within the clear limitations of sample and measures, the results reported in this study offer some support for the cultivation hypothesis. Although the findings are not statistically enormous, they seem to indicate that television viewing is related to 'Sexism,' 'Sex Roles,' and 'Mean World' indices. Since television sets have become common household items, television has become the world's most common and constant learning environment. Although
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Intercultural Communication Studies VI: 1 1996 J. Kang, S. Andersen, & M Pfau 76 some critics say that television has lost its magic so that most people regard it simply as furniture, it still offers fun, excitement, and imagination, and remains fascinating to the mass audience. Television has become a substitute mother and baby sitter for many young children and a companion for adolescents in many cultures. On a given day in the U.S., half of all American adolescents spend three hours or more viewing television (Lowery and DeFleur, 1988). They tend to watch more television than do adults, prefer to watch adult programs, and usually watch as late into the night as do adults. Despite their emergence from the more limited world of childhood and their increased reliance on peers, adolescents continue to spend a great deal of their time watching television (Morgan and Rothschild, 1983 and Jeffres, 1986). Since the 1960s, communication scholars have examined television's contributions to viewers' perceptions of a wide variety of topics and issues. Unfortunately, little effort has been made to investigate the influence of television
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Television Viewing and Perception of Social Reality Among Native American Adolescents

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