These teens also reported less positive attitudes toward their parents, according to the research.
"Unfortunately, parents' good intentions in restricting television viewing may actually backfire and contribute to them watching more of the programs they shouldn't see," said Amy Nathanson, author of the study and assistant professor of journalism and communication at Ohio State University.
However, that doesn't mean parents are powerless to mold their teens' viewing habits, Nathanson said. Her research suggests that parents who discuss issues related to television with their older children rather than just restrict viewing are more likely to influence what their children watch. The key, she said, is to discuss without lecturing.
"When parents talk to older children by asking questions and inviting dialogue, and don't talk to them in a condescending or threatening way, they are more likely to see positive outcomes," Nathanson said.
Some of Nathanson's research appears in the January 2003 issue
of Human Communication Research. Other parts of the research
appeared recently in th
Contact: Amy Nathanson
Ohio State University