U.S. television's effects in Belize
Elliott, Larry S.
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For many years, parents and others have worried about children learning negative messages from television. Some research indicates television can "cultivate" stereotypes among viewers by repeating certain themes. A strong United States television industry exports a great deal of programming to other countries. This has led to concerns about U.S. television effects elsewhere. This study looked at ways American television programs may change perceptions of young people in Belize, Central America, where English is the official language. In January, 1992, 381 high school students in four Belizean towns filled out questionnaires asking them to rank a list of personal values according to importance. The students also ranked the importance of values they saw emphasized in the television programs they watched. Students were asked about their media use and perceptions of the world as a threatening place. Responses "cultivation" effects from viewing failed to indicate U.S. television. The students' responses did not show that viewing U.S. television caused them to perceive the world as a more threatening place. In addition, no general differences were found in the effects of U.S. television viewing as compared to television programs from Mexico, a next door neighbor to Belize. Although many Belizeans speak both English and Spanish, the high school students overwhelmingly preferred u.s. over Mexican television.
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