Soaps and the Family
By Helen Barrett
A four week snapshot study of radio and Tv Soaps in the UK. Thematic analysis of events reveals the picture of family life portrayed by the media.
The soaps appeared to show many conflicted and crisis ridden families. Mostly they offered different persepctives on each situation and did not try to beeducational but entertaining. Families headed by a male and a female parent were under-represented in the television programmes except The Archers. Consequently, the family structure still most prevalent in society currently (75% of families) did not feature highly in any of the television programmes. Hence these television programmes cannot be said to address the question of how the stresses of every day life are dealt with in the 'average family'.
The report considers whether soaps influence the behaviour of viewers and comment that the level of abuse nad violence may cause soem parents concern in view of the pre-watershed broadcasting times.
In conclusion the report says, "Soaps can represent very diverse families, have the potential to stimulate valuable debate and can have a very positive role to play in increasing public awareness of the needs of people in a wide range of situations though very often they tread a fine line between entertainment and education...."
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