Date of Degree

2-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Colette Daiute

Committee Members

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Keywords

empathy, empathy arousal modes, social empathy, children's media, children's television, narratives, emotional intelligence, kindness, altruism, para social relationships

Abstract

For children to learn better empathic skills we must provide more opportunities for children to explore empathetic learning. In Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence” he states. . . “the root of altruism lies in empathy, the ability to read emotions in others; lacking a sense of another’s need or despair, there is no caring (xiii). What is empathy? According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary, empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.

Other than in the academic setting and from parents or caregivers, children can learn empathy through their time engaged in media, specifically through television. Television is a medium that is available to many individuals, even outside of households. Many of these individuals are children and youth who watch their favorite programs on electronics such as their cellphones and tablets. This paper will focus on “Hey Arnold”, a children’s program with high levels of empathy. The purpose of this paper is to analyze 10 “Hey Arnold” episodes by the levels of empathic behavior displayed in the narratives. This analysis will optimistically help creators of children’s television be more open to implementing greater empathic narratives in their shows. Implementing empathic narratives in children’s television may provide the opportunity for children to develop higher levels of empathy; creating more emotionally intelligent and well -rounded individuals in society.

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