Effects of Background Television on Young Children's Play Behavior
Gallagher, Rae Marie
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The play behavior of 48 toddlers was recorded in a laboratory setting to observe the effects of background television on a child's play behavior. Experimenters predicted that the presence of a television program during play would affect the children's attention to play activities, and it would affect the amount of time children spent on each play activity. It was further hypothesized that the presence of a television program would elicit more looks at the television while it was on, distracting the child from his or her play. In the control condition of the experiment, the television in the laboratory was turned off for a period of 30 min. In the experimental condition, the television game show Jeopardy was played for a period of 30 min. Each toddler experienced both the experimental condition and the control condition during 1 hr of free play. Researchers analyzed video recordings of the toddlers and recorded how often the children looked at the television screen and how often the toddlers switched from one play activity to another during the play period.