Do Violent `Toons Lead To Violent Teens?

Which is too violent for kids to watch on the tube: shoot-'em-up cop shows or Saturday morning cartoons? Maybe both, according to a new monitor of violent programming.

The UCLA Center for Communication Policy, embarking on a study of the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons of the Big Three networks and Fox, will evaluate all programming. But Jeffrey Cole, the center's director, says emphasis will be placed on children's programs, including cartoons. "There is definitely a concern," says Cole, "about at what age children can distinguish fantasy from reality." His $500,000 study, funded by the broadcasters, is their grudging response to Capitol Hill criticism of TV violence--and a bid to stave off federal regulation. They say they'll use the report in program planning.

Some broadcasters, though, fear that Cole, who has no kids himself, may go too far. Says Martin Franks, a CBS executive vice-president: "I don't think that watching Road Runner is going to turn a child into a psychopath." There's no established link, the CBS executive says, between video violence and the real thing.

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