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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000 Apr;154(4):366-9.

Actions without consequences: injury-related messages in children's programs.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, USA.



To characterize children's television programs in terms of their unintentional injury-related messages.


Content analysis. Episodes representing a total of 216 unique television programs were coded for the presence of imitable unsafe behaviors without consequences.


A census of all children's programming airing in a northeastern city during the first week of December 1996.


Exactly 47.0% of children's programming depicted at least 1 instance of unsafe, imitable behavior without consequences; one third had more than 3 instances. Exactly 51.0% of the programs targeted to school-age children and 33.4% of the programs targeted to preschoolers contained these unsafe behaviors. The majority (56.8%) of children's programs on basic cable television depicted unsafe behavior as compared with 23.1% of programs shown on public television. Cartoon programs depicted the most unsafe behaviors (60.3%), as compared with live-action programs (33.4%) and other genres (23.3%).


Children's television programs depict too many unsafe behaviors without consequences. Future work should explore the role of these programs in the development of unsafe behaviors in children.

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