The impact of prosocial television news on children’s prosocial behavior: An experimental study in the Netherlands.


The aim of this experimental study was to examine whether prosocial behavior in television news affects children’s prosocial intentions and behaviors. In this study, 372 Dutch children (9-13 years old) participated. Children in the experimental condition were exposed to prosocial news showing children organizing a fundraising action for UNICEF. In the control condition, children were exposed to news about UNICEF in which no prosocial behavior was included. Afterwards, children were given the opportunity to donate to UNICEF, which served as an index of prosocial behavior. Prosocial intentions were captured using paper-and-pencil questionnaires. Regression analysis demonstrated that, while controlling for important confounders, children exposed to prosocial news were significantly more willing to help with setting up a project for UNICEF and donated more to UNICEF compared to children who did not watch prosocial news. These findings highlight that prosocial television can function as a tool for positive social change among children.