Television has become an important tool for learning and socialization in children. Although television violence has been associated with adverse effects, data on depiction of fire and burn injury are lacking. We sought to determine whether Saturday-morning television programming, viewed primarily by children, depicts fire and burn injury as safe or without consequence, thus potentially increasing the incidence of burn injury in children. This was a prospective observational study. Saturday-morning children's television programs were videotaped from 7 AM to 11 AM for eight different television networks during a 6-month period. Tapes were scored for scenes depicting fire or smoke by independent observers. Recorded items included show category, scene type, gender target, context of fire, and outcome after exposure to flame. Fire events were documented during programs and their associated commercials. A total of 108 hours of children's programs, 16 hours per network, were recorded. Scenes depicting fire or smoke were identified 1960 times, with 39% of events occurring during the program itself and 61% in commercials. Fire was depicted as either safe or without consequence in 64% of incidents. Action adventure stories accounted for 56% of flame depictions. Overall, one incident involving flame and fire was portrayed for each 3 minutes of television programming. Saturday-morning television programming frequently depicts fire as safe, empowering, or exciting. The incidence of flame use in programming varies between stations but is most prevalent in action/adventure stories. Television commercials, although brief, provide the majority of the misinformation regarding fire. Medical professional societies should alert the public to this potential hazard and recommend responsible portrayal of fire in children's television programming.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation|
|State||Published - Jul 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions(all)
- Emergency Medicine