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September 14, 1984

The Child and Television Drama: The Psychosocial Impact of Cumulative Viewing

Author Affiliations

Rhode Island Hospital Providence


formulated by the Committee on Social Issues, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, 124 pp, with illus, paper, $13.75, New York, NY 10016 (30 E 29th St), Mental Health Materials Center, 1982.

JAMA. 1984;252(10):1350. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350100066036

Written as a cooperative effort by the Committee on Social Issues of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, this short, 124-page, paperback volume tells the tale that once again people, and children in particular, seem to have to struggle with self-wrought illness. But this time instead of the rather familiar threats of pollution, overpopulation, and nuclear holocaust, the threat is from our most pervasive medium and frequent nonhuman companion—television. Were it not for the ubiquitousness of television and the heavy loading of one-way drama and violence on the screen, this volume focusing on the impact of television on children might only be an intellectual point of discussion. However, 98% of homes have at least one television set that runs an average of seven hours a day and by the age of 18 years, the average American child has viewed 20,000 hours of television, 13,000 killings, and at least 350,000