Media Violence and Children: Barney vs. Power Rangers

Could you please help me find the link to the “Barney vs Power Rangers” video? I would like to show it at a parents meeting!

Kelly, Texas


I will get to your question in just a moment! First, for those of you who don’t know what the “Barney vs. Power Rangers” video is, let me take a moment to explain. For years we have been working with parents and educators to unpack the teaching power of television. While brain science and academic research help explain how media impacts attitudes, values, and behavior, sometimes a picture (or in this case a video) is worth a thousand words.

This is why we conducted and recorded a simple experiment with children in two different Minneapolis day care centers. The experiment was designed to answer this simple question: How does a one time exposure to different media content influence the real world behavior of
pre-school aged children? The first day of the experiment children gathered in a circle to watch an episode of Barney. The following day, the same children tuned in to the Power Rangers. Parents and daycare instructors watched on as these television shows spurred completely different behaviors in their children. Simply put, the norms went from “have a nice day” with Barney to “make my day” with the Power Rangers. Take a look:

Watching this video reminds parents that baby’s brains are wired to copy and imitate the world around them. It also reminds us that media storytellers are powerful and that “whoever tells the stories, defines the culture.” We hope that it is a great conversation starter for parents in your community to consider the impact of the images and messages in front of very young children.


Dr. Dave