New study shows social bullying common on TV

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Bullying has become a hot topic, especially for parents trying to teach their kids right from wrong despite many negative, outside influences. Know more about a way many kids are seeing bullying every day.

It's one thing to watch a character on TV push another, but do we recognize bullying when it's in the form of name-calling or gossiping on TV? A new study shows social bullying is more common on television than we might think, so what can parents do?

Show after show, channel after channel: there are so many television shows geared at children.

"Cartoons are supposed to be for kids to enjoy and laugh and have fun," mother of two Jourdan Wright said.

While many of these shows are entertaining, sometimes we have to look beyond the laughter and cartoon faces.

"The social bullying, I see it in the programming my children watch," mother of four Debra Williams said.

A new study published in the Journal of Communication shows children see forms of social bullying in many popular TV shows.

"Too often a young kid is going to say, 'Oh, this is how we act,' when in reality, that's not how we can act in society,” licensed professional counselor Scott Aber said.

Out of 150 children's shows, 92 percent showed some sort of social aggression.

"[Social bullying is] putting people down verbally, or just ignoring them. As the kids say [social bullying is] dissing them, because it's funny at the time," Aber said.

Some parents have made the decision to limit which television shows their children can watch, knowing how impressionable their young kids can be.

"I’ve learned that [my son] likes to mimic a lot of the shows, he likes to follow the shows thinking, 'Ok, if I can watch this, I can act like this,'" Wright said.

Others get worried when their younger children try to watch TV with their older siblings.

"A lot of what my 8 year old can comprehend as being right and wrong, maybe my six and three year old can't," Williams said.

But no matter how their children see social bullying on TV, some parents say it's important to sit down and talk with kids.

"You just have to use those opportunities when you do see it and notice it to talk to your children about what bullying is and what not to do," mother of three Rachille Rusche said.

"That’s really not acceptable, what happened there, or I’ll just turn the TV off," Williams said.

To some parents, it’s important to them life on TV doesn't become reality because physical or not, bullying is still bullying.

"I always tell him, you don't treat friends like that, you don't do that because that's just mean and that's hurtful,” Wright said of talking with her son.

Even though many of these shows do portray some form of social bullying, parents say sometimes the show often makes the effort to teach the young viewers how those types of behaviors are wrong.

Shows included on the study include: All Grown Up, Amanda Show, American Dad, American Dragon: Jake Long, American Idol: Tuesday, American Idol: Wednesday, Avatar, Batman, Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, The Buzz on Maggie, Camp Lazlo, Catscratch, Codename: Kids Next Door, Danny Phantom, Drake & Josh, Ed Edd N’ Eddy, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Even Stevens, Fairly Odd Parents, Family Guy, Fear Factor, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Friday Night Smackdown, Grmi Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Hannah Montana, Hi-Jinks, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Kim Possible, Lizzie McGuire, Naruto, Naturally Sadie, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Phil of the Future, Pokemon, Proud Family, That’s So Raven, Romeo, Rugrats, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scooby Doo & Shaggy Get a Clue, The Simple Life 3, The Simpsons, Sister Sister, Spongebob Squarepants, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Survivor: Palao, Teen Titans, Unfabulous, Xiaolin Showdown, Yu Gi Oh, Zoey 101.


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