1. Lipman, Terri H. PhD, CRNP, FAAN
  2. Tiedje, Linda Beth PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

Tamburro, R. F., Gordon, P. L., D'Apolito, J. P., & Howard, S. C. (2004).Pediatrics,114, e694-698.


Parents and pediatric healthcare providers are often concerned about the effect of movies and television on children, because it is assumed that media exposure seems to increase children's risk-taking behavior. As pediatric nurses, should we encourage the wholesome activity of watching sports on television? The objective of this study was to determine the proportion of commercials that depict violence or other unsafe behavior during major televised sporting events that are aired before 9:00 p.m.

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This study examined 50 sports programs that were most highly rated by Nielsen Media Research. These programs included, but were not limited to, Winter Olympics events, National Football League games, the Major League Baseball World Series, and the National Basketball Association Western Conference Final Game. All commercials that were aired during these programs were reviewed for unsafe behavior or violence. The percentage of commercials and of commercial breaks that portrayed violent or unsafe behavior was determined for each category of event and advertised product. Of the 1,185 commercials assessed, 14% (n = 165) displayed unsafe behavior and 6% (n = 66) depicted violence. The Super Bowl had the highest proportion of such commercials.


This study shows us that children who watch televised sports view a significant amount of violent and unsafe behavior. These data support the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations for television viewing, which state parents should both limit and directly supervise children's viewing of these events. There are also implications for television viewing by children in hospitals, because nurses could advocate for the availability of commercial-skipping technology. In addition, efforts should be made to regulate the content of commercials on the basis of the hour at which the sporting event is aired.


Comment by Terri H. Lipman