For the American communication researcher Robert P. Hawkins, ‘the degree to which children believe they are viewing either ongoing life or drama.’ It is widely noted that very young viewers attribute equal reality to everything on television. In a questionnaire study of 153 children of 4- to 12-years-old (published in 1977), Hawkins confirmed previous research findings that children tend to perceive fictional television as increasingly less real as they grow older. His data reflected a dramatic increase in children's knowledge in this regard around the age of 8 years; children over 8-years-old rarely thought of television as a magic window on the world, and understood that programmes were made up. This has been a general finding. See also constructedness; perceived reality.
Subjects: Media Studies.