Did America’s Funniest Home Videos Actually Impact Society?

This is the time of year that sociology students are looking for research topics.  You always end up seeing the same old boring ones – but here’s an idea to impress your prof and still be pretty doable.  (I would *love* to see whatever research, results, or papers come from it.  And you are freely able to modify my hypothesis.)

America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV) was a long-running guilty pleasure for most of the 90’s and 00’s.  Huge chunks of the programming consisted of what now are considered “FAIL” videos.  However, its ratings declined during the 00’s, and I’m not even sure if it’s still in production. 

Examine existing data to determine if there is a correlation between:

* AFV’s ratings and number of YouTube videos online
* AFV’s ratings and the number of mentions of “parkour” online (by search hits)
* AFV’s ratings and emergency room visits in Children’s Hospitals

My initial hypothesis is that there will be a negative correlation;  AFV was commonly part of a family-viewing kind of ritual.  Perhaps the social pressure (explicit in my family) of “Look at that dumbass” might have served to make parkour (and similar) activities seem less appealing.

Related – does the current crop of behaviors pointed at (and inherently ridiculed) in reality TV shows cause an overall social pressure to *emulate* or to *avoid* the behavior?

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