British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 2 Issue 2 (June 1984), Pages 95-190

The role of media in road safety education for young children (pages 157-165)

This study compares the effectiveness of two videotaped traffic safety messages, both concerning crossing the road in the vicinity of parked cars. In the ‘instructional’ version the message was presented according to the principles generally used in media presentations for children. The ‘modelling’ version closely followed social learning principles. Both versions were presented to subjects 5 years of age. The subjects were pre‐tested and post‐tested on crossing the road and their comprehension of the film content was tested after presentation. The ‘modelling’ version resulted in a significant increase in the children's capacity to demonstrate the crossing behaviour, whereas the ‘instructional’ version did not. The comprehension test demonstrated that children exposed to the ‘modelling’ version also showed a significantly higher level of understanding.

The conclusion is drawn that traditional media presentations are not successful in effectuating behavioural change in young children. Presentations which follow ‘modelling’ principals and are adapted to the developmental characteristics of the audience can improve young children's behaviour capabilities and can as such be an important part of educational programmes such as road safety which aim at causing behavioural change in young children.

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