A mixed-methods study of the relationship between children's parasocial relationships with the Arthur children's series and empathy.
Abstract: Children's media use has not only risen over the past decade but also evolved to include newer interactive types of media. Significant research on the influence of child media use on development has investigated traditional media like television, however less research has been conducted on the influence of contemporary forms of media like interactive stories or e-books. The following ... read morestudy investigated children's use of an interactive graphic novel (IGN) designed to promote character development in elementary school age children. Specifically, the relationship of children's parasocial relationships (PSRs) with the prosocial children's series Arthur and measures of empathy were assessed. Quantitative measures of empathy and PSR were compared for a sample of elementary school age children that participated in a feasibility study of the IGN. Additionally, to assess potential qualitative differences of the influence of PSR, dialogue between two peer dyads recorded during testing of the IGN were coded and compared for frequency of empathy related talk. The dyad with the highest average PSR score and the dyad with the lowest average PSR score were chosen to compare extreme examples of PSR in children. Findings indicated an association between measures of PSR and empathy for older male participants, older female participants and younger male participants but not younger female participants. Analysis of the two selected peer dyads indicated a slight difference in empathy related talk as well as different styles of interaction between the high and low PSR dyads. Implications of interactive media and children's PSR with featured characters on social emotional development are discussed.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2014.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Julie Dobrow.
Committee: Edmond Bowers, and Mike Robb.
Keywords: Developmental psychology, Educational technology, and Early childhood education.read less