Kids and Media in America: Patterns of Use at the Millennium

Kids and Media in America: Patterns of Use at the Millennium

Kids and Media in America: Patterns of Use at the Millennium

Kids and Media in America: Patterns of Use at the Millennium

Synopsis

Examining the full array of media available to children and adolescents, this book describes not only the amount of time they spend with each medium, but the kinds of content they choose, and the physical, social, and psychological context of much of their exposure. This national sample study provides a comprehensive picture of young people's media behavior.

Excerpt

Of the many technological innovations the United States has witnessed during the latter half of the twenty-first century, arguably none have been more important in the lives of children and adolescents than the emergence and evolution of the new communication technologies. In a little over 50 years, we have moved from a media environment dominated by local newspapers and radio stations to one characterized by an almost continual diet of highly vivid, on-demand, audiovisual images, many with interactive capabilities.

Readers nearing retirement age probably recall a childhood media environment consisting of magazines and newspapers, radio (drama, game shows, music, 5-minute news broadcasts), possibly a phonograph, and an occasional Saturday matinee at a neighborhood movie theater— with two or three television channels perhaps joining the mix during adolescence. In contrast, most of today's high school students cannot recall a time when the universe of television channels was fewer than three dozen (even without cable or satellite, many homes can receive more than 20 broadcast channels), and their younger siblings have never known a world without interactive video games, personal computers, the World Wide Web, and instant messaging. Older readers probably remember when chocolate syrup dabbed on a shirt sleeve served convincingly as blood in Gene Autry westerns; youths today take for granted films and video games in which blood, gore, and severed limbs complete with spasmodic nerve endings are the norm. Some of us can still recall a time when adults were assumed to be advertisers' only targets and companies such as 3M and General Electric sponsored The Mickey Mouse Club. Today's teenagers, who spent in excess of . . .

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