Study: TV can boost self-esteem of white boys
TV viewing can raise white boys' self-confidence, a study says, but harm the self-esteem of girls and African-American boys.
June 1st, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Study: TV can boost self-esteem of white boys

By Stephanie Goldberg, CNN

(CNN) - We've heard it all: from the correlation between TV viewing and childhood obesity to the idea that excessive TV viewing can negatively affect children's grades.

But according to a new study, watching TV might actually boost your child's self-esteem - that is, if he's a white male.

Parents of white girls and African-American children, however, might want to limit the amount of time their kids spend in front of the tube. The self-esteem of white girls, black girls and black boys decreases with TV consumption, says the study, published in Communication Research.

Over the course of one year, Kristen Harrison and Nicole Martins surveyed about 400 black and white Illinois students. All of the 7- to 12-year-olds are from lower-middle to upper-middle socioeconomic communities, said Harrison, a professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan. Black children surveyed, on average, spent an extra 10 hours watching TV each week.

With the definition of self-esteem being an overall feeling of self-worth, Harrison told CNN, kids were asked reverse-coded questions such as, "Are there a lot of things about yourself you would like to change?"

While the study focused solely on how the amount of time spent in front of the TV affects a child's self-esteem, the programs likely are what give white boys a confidence boost, said Amy Jordan, director of the Media and the Developing Child sector of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Filed under: How we live • Pop culture • Race
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Huh?


    Once upon a time, it was laughable and rather a dream that there would be a black President of the United States. And, low and behold, there is one TODAY! You see, there IS always a chance for America to catch up to TODAY'S demographics

    First off, I just showed you actual "white-washing" examples when you said there were none. So now you're forced to eat some humble pie.

    Second, B.S.!!! There are PLENTY of decent and potential minority actors and actresses! Just comb through youtube and see what kind of amazing things they are doing! But as long as small-minded folks like YOU keep your ignorant ideals up, Hollywood won't get any wiser.

    Third, you're the immature one. You only think you know everything but it takes someone like me to teach you that there IS a racism here that shouldn't be tolerated, son.

    Plus, come on – you can tell me. You're white, right?

    June 6, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. hamsta

    Did you know they had such a problem finding blue people with tails to make avatar that they had to resort to computer graphics? face the facts dummy its impossible to be 100 Percent ethnicly correct for every character in every film.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hamsta

    Did you ever stop and think that its impossible to get an exact character match for every book written?

    June 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hamsta

    sorry the world isnt a perfect uetopia but one the first things my daddy taught me was that life isnt fair and it is absolutely impossible to make every little detail of your miserable little life completely fair SO DEAL WITH IT AND BE HAPPY.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Huh?

    @hamsta I guess you didn't hear about the movie "21" where almost the entire cast was white-washed when they were Asian? Or the movie "Star Troopers" where the main character was Juan "John" Rico who was Philippino-American in the book but was white-washed by Casper Van Dien? Or in the Last Avatar when pretty much all of the characters were white-washed except one of the villains? Or Prince of Persia when they couldn't find someone actually PERSIAN but made Jake Gyllenhaal play the main character? Oh, right, you think I'm "race-BAITING." Guess what, Hollywood tends to RACE-BEND!

    This practice has been going on since Micheal Rooney played a comedic idiot in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Racism is still there, in Hollywood. Take your head out of the sand and open your mind out of the ignorance.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hamsta

    @huh? guess you never saw i robot, i am legend, independence day or any other will smith movie. guess you never heard of morgon freeman, forest whitaker, master p, tyler perry,wesly snipes, denzel washington, chris rock, chris tucker, ice cube, ice tea, damon wayons, bill cosby, the jeffersons,steve urkel, eddie murphy,queen latifa, oprah winfrey, montel wllliams and the list goes on and on and on..... i guess all these black people that all had the main character dont exist. how about pat morita, bruce lee, carlos mancia, sulu,jet li, jackie chan, brandon lee and a whole list of other minorities all with lead roles in more than one movie and more than one tv show. FACE THE FACTS YOU ARE A RACE BAITER.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Huh?

    "Race-baiter?" Did you read the actual article, hamsta??? There are white male protagonist main characters in almost virtually EVERY movie and T.V. show! There's no "race-baiting" there! It's the truth!

    There needs to be addresses against the stereotypes. There needs to be more Asian men getting Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis, Camerian Diaz, etc. as love interests, more African-American men and Spanish men getting intellectual roles, more women in powerful positions, etc. And, by more, I mean the 40%-50% that equal the minority babies being born during these times!

    So you can call it "race-baiting" all you want, but that's what minorities deserve nowadays. No more white-washing, no more marginalization, no more "token" stereotypes.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hamsta

    if you come to my back yard speak my language and do things as i do. this is america. if you want to stay be an american. if you want to be latino or african before american you dont belong here.there is no such thing as part american. be 100 percent american or go back where you came from. this is america and you will do things the american way. it is not i who is the racist but you who uses race as a crutch.

    June 5, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      When I see the racism that is against President Obama because of his ethnic background, I can see all the white supremecists spout what you are spouting. And it took over two and a half CENTURIES to get a black United States President. If you say he's "American," then how do you explain the BIRTHERS?

      June 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    lets take it back to the 60s. star trek included someone from just about every ethnic background. thats not the only tv show to do so. that was 50 years ago. its even more diverse today. its obvious you are a race baiter.

    June 5, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Huh?

    By the way, what with more minority babies being born than white babies – it's about time – ESPECIALLY in 2012 – for them to be represented when they start watching T.V. and going into the movies. I believe CNN did an article about that, how now over one-half of babies are now minorities. So stop the white-washing, stop the racism against minorities, and stop trying to go back to the 1950's. This is the future.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. hamsta

    There is no such thing as african american or latino american. you can be african or you can be american but you cant be both. either you are american or you are not american but there is no such thing as part american. by the way english is the official language of america. im going to pull the race card now and say that its not fair that ihave to pay extra to get premium channels when they can put those premium channels in place of that spanish garbage on my tv. if the mexicans want spanish language they can pay extra for it because i shouldnt have to pay for spanish garbage on my bill. now whos being treated unfairly?

    June 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      I disagree. It's never a degree of being an "American" because, in American History, that was never how it ever started, was it? Black slaves were considered property. Women didn't have a right to vote. Etectera, etcetera. America didn't have "all men created equal" when it came to minorities and women. Plus, America was founded by a nation of immigrants. That's why we have to use the term "Native Americans" replaced as "Indians." So your argument of ALL-American is null and void. All of our roots come from somewhere else. Even the founding fathers.

      As to your T.V., english is the MAIN language, not the "official" or "national" language. "Freedom of speech" does NOT illegalize different languages, ESPECIALLY in the media.

      And you denying Spanish or BET channels to T.V. plans denies sections of minorities when they pay for cable.

      By the way, alot of minorities DO speak english. They are NOT required to speak it at all times, though.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
      • raceisamyth

        I beg your parden there huh....Tsalagi is the offical American language.

        June 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • raceisamyth

        Damn right you will use the term American Indian. But that is only if you dont know our tribe name.

        June 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hamsta

    @huh so far we have 3 spanish channels on cable tv. my problem with that – since i am an american paying for american tv i want american dialogue and not some foreign speaking garbage. on cable that i pay for there is black entertainment television. my problem with that- the race baiters ignore the fact that black people make a larger and larger portion of television casts and insist there is this new thing called white washing. i bet the race baiters would go in full panic mode if there was such a thing as caucasian entertainment.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Did you ever actually stop and think: Hmmmm . . . . Maybe if this white-washing never existed, then BET and various spanish channels wouldn't exist? And by "American" dialogue, you do mean english – right? Oh, wait – are you now outlawing other languages now? That doesn't sound like freedom to me . . . .

      There is no "invention" of white-washing. It has been around ever since Hollywood was established. Guess you didn't hear about the Last Airbender? Or 21?

      If there was more shows that featured minorities in main roles that were NOT stereotypical that constituted a – lets say 40% – 50% compared with white people, I'm sure the likes of the spanish channel and BET would become obsolete.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      So, as an "American," African-Americans and Latino-Americans don't count for you? Oh, let me guess – you're one of those white people that only see "Americans" as white – right?

      June 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. raceisamyth

    Heres a better idea...white kids...turn off the tv, then go outside and play baseball, football or hockey.

    June 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Fine. How about more "brown" people that are NOT non-hispanic white that are in MAIN roles on T.V. and movies by Hollywood. Lets say 40% to 50% instead of the "token" percentages as well as non-stereotypical and represent them as REAL people.

      Does that clarify it?

      June 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Huh?

    White-washing = racism

    Need more minorities representing on T.V. and movies, Hollywood.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • raceisamyth

      Race is a figment of your imagination. Its a politically influenced man made bs story. Now, if you would please come back to reality, we can converse about something that actually exsists in reality, such as Culture, Heritage or Ethnicity. Race isnt real. IT IS NOT! Now go think for yourself.

      June 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Huh?

        Fine. There needs to be more African-Americans, Philippino-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Korea-Americans, Indian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etcetera. etcetera, etcetera, etcetera represented in MAIN roles on T.V. shows and movies by Hollywood.

        Does that clarify it for you?

        June 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hamsta

    Just more fodder for the race baiters.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      I'm taking a guess – but you're white, right?

      June 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • raceisamyth

        Im taking it you are dumb enough to actually believe that white skinned or black skinned people actually exsist. Humans are simply different variations and complexions flesh tone based upon how close or far that persons ancestors lived in relation to the equator. I have "white" friends that have darker skin than me.

        June 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • raceisamyth

        Hey huh.... Did you hear the news? white people tan...tanned greeks are darker than President Obama

        June 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  16. raceisamyth

    No you are wrizzzong sizzer. KRS-1, G.W. Carver, Denzel Washington, Bill Cosby, bb king, Jimi hendrix, MLK just to name a few heros for ya. Now heres a few villians...malcolm x, jeremiah wright, mugabe, charles taylor and the most talentless fool ever lil wayne.

    June 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • raceisamyth

      O Lord forgive me...I forgot about Tony Royster Jr., Victor Wooten, stevie wonder, Carter Beauford, muddy waters, jackie robinson etc and on and on....heros...everyone of them

      June 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • raceisamyth

        Holy crap...and of course Michael Jordan. When people use your name to describe greatness in everything....for example I will say "Tony Royster jr is the michael jordon of drums".....then you know you did something right

        June 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  17. IveBeenEverywhere

    I think the issue is that most heroes are white and the most postive things are white. All bad stuff is black .For example, there hasn't been a black contestant on The Bachelor or a major black super hero on Cartoon Network. Likewise, everytime a black person is usually portrayed on BET or Bait Car. Go figure.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • raceisamyth

      First thing...the bacholer is garbage no matter what the persons skin complexion is. And ummmm....BOONDOCKS IS AMAZING! There are also a ton of black super heros...you just seem more interested in seeing a black superman rather than focusing on black super heros.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • JoeSmitters

        *looks at user name*
        Not necessarily. Why can't we have a black superman? Sure, Boondocks is awesome. The issue is that Superman is well established and just creating a super hero or stereotpyical one doesn't suffice. I want more Blades and less.....Black Panthers.

        June 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |