This study presents qualitative research examining the relationship youth have with television. Information for this study was collected through media journals, personal essays, in-depth interviews, and focus groups held with eighteen sixth-graders who attended a charter elementary school in Lindon, Utah.
The question posed to the students multiple times during the data collection was: “Would you give up television for $1 million?” Through the students’ answers and ensuing dialogue, the researcher examined the social value the pre-adolescents attributed to watching television. The findings identify three main categories the students said were reasons they were attached to television, which also corresponded adolescent-needs that have been identified by scholars. The categories are 1) youth need friendship and television offers potential to develop parasocial relationships 2) youth need intimacy and television is an activity they can do with and talk about with friends and 3) youth need to learn about the new group they’re being socialized into and television offers portrayals of future situations.
The study also includes ideas about why television is so valuable to the youth; it concludes with suggestions for future research, including expanding this research to other demographics, and recommendations for parents and school teachers, including media literacy and parental mediation.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Smurthwaite, Emily A., "The Million-Dollar Question: Why Pre-Adolescents Watch Television" (2004). Theses and Dissertations. 163.
pre-adolescents, television, socialization, uses and gratifications, triangulation, autodriving, media value, elementary students, friendships, social learning