Wilson, B.J., Colvin, C.M., & Smith, S.L. (2002). Engaging in violence on American television: A comparison of child, teen, and adult perpetrators. Journal of Communication, 52 (1), 36-60.

Abstract: Examined the age of violence perpetrators in US television programs. 2,757 television programs broadcast in the Los Angeles area during the period October 1995 through June 1996 were assessed for violence committed by child and adolescent characters. Results show that younger perpetrators were depicted in several ways that posed risks for child viewers. Compared to adult perpetrators, child perpetrators were more often portrayed as attractive and were less likely to be punished for aggression. As well, they engaged in violence that resulted in fewer negative consequences to their victims. These younger characters were disproportionately featured on the very programs and channels targeted to the child audience. The proportion of violent characters that were children or adolescents was dramatically lower than that of adults, and the hourly rates of such characters were lower, as well. The vast majority of child perpetrators were male. Compared to adult aggressors, child aggressors were more likely to be “good” in nature, thereby increasing their overall attractiveness to the viewer. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved