|dc.contributor.advisor||Holden, George W.||en
|dc.creator||Simpson, Birgitte Vittrup||en
|dc.description.abstract||Much concern has been voiced about the development of prejudicial beliefs in
young children. Previous research indicates that socializing agents such as parents and
the media can influence children’s development of positive and negative racial attitudes.
Little research has examined how parents can use educational television to introduce
discussions about race with their children. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study
was to investigate the influences of educational television and parent-child discussions
about race may have on improving White children’s attitudes towards Blacks.
Ninety-three White children aged 5-7 years old and their parents participated.
Parents’ and children’s racial attitudes were tested during their first visit to a research
laboratory. Parents also filled out questionnaires regarding their involvement with their
children’s television use and how often they engaged their children in discussions about
race. Families were then randomly divided into four groups: (1) a video-only group
where parents were asked to screen five educational videos (provided by the researcher)
over the course of one week; (2) a video-and-discussion group where in addition to the
videos, parents were given a set of topics to discuss with their children during and after
the screenings; (3) a discussion-only group, where parents were required to have the
discussions with their children without the use of the educational videos; and (4) a control
group. All families returned to the laboratory about one week later. At the follow-up
visit, children’s racial attitudes were reassessed.
Three main hypotheses guided the study: (1) Children’s pre-test attitudes towards
Blacks were expected to be influenced by their prior exposure to Black people, as well as
their prior conversations with their parents about race, such that children with more
exposure were expected to hold more positive attitudes; (2) Children who watched
racially diverse programs and discussed the content with their parents were expected to
show more positive attitudes towards Blacks when comparing their post-test attitude
scores to their pre-test scores; (3) Children in the video-and-discussion and discussiononly
groups were expected to be better able to predict their parents’ racial attitudes at
post-test, compared to their own pre-test predictions and compared to children who had
not had such discussions with their parents.
Children who reported having Black friends showed slightly more positive
evaluations of Blacks. However, neighborhood diversity was positively correlated with
children’s negative evaluations of Blacks. Results revealed that parents in general were
very reluctant to discuss the topic of race with their children. Only 33% of mothers and
20% of fathers reported having significant race related discussions. Many parents chose
not to have such discussions because they did not want to make a “big deal” out of it,
they did not think it was important to talk about, or they did not know how to approach
the topic in conversation. Parents’ and children’s racial attitudes were uncorrelated,
indicating that children do not automatically adopt their parents’ attitudes. However,
children’s perceptions of their parents’ racial attitudes were significantly correlated with
their own positive and negative attitudes towards Blacks.
It appeared that parents were equally reluctant to talk about race even when
specifically instructed to do so. Close to half of parents in the two discussion groups
admitted that they only briefly mentioned some of the topics. Only 10% of the parents
reported having more in-depth discussions with their children. This likely affected the
effectiveness of the intervention, and the children in the experimental groups did not
show statistically significant improvements of their racial attitudes following the
Prior to the intervention, many children reported that they did not know if their
parents liked Black people or if their parents would approve of them having Black friends.
Children who were aware of their parents’ interracial friendships showed more positive
and less negative evaluations of Blacks. Furthermore, children in the discussion groups
expressed more awareness of their parents’ racial attitudes following the intervention.
Implications of the results of this study are discussed.||
|dc.rights||Copyright is held by the author. Presentation of this material on
the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made
possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in
|dc.subject.lcsh||Race awareness in children||en
|dc.subject.lcsh||Television in education||en
|dc.subject.lcsh||Parent and child||en
|dc.title||Exploring the influences of educational television and parent-child discussions on improving children's racial attitudes||en
|thesis.degree.grantor||The University of Texas at Austin||en
|thesis.degree.name||Doctor of Philosophy||en