Cover Girls & Guitar Heroes
Building a good society requires that we raise our children to be healthy, productive citizens. American children spend more time watching TV, playing video games, listening to music, messaging friends, and surfing the internet than they spend in school. Many adults are concerned that this extensive media use may be corrupting American youth. Cell phones and social networking sites might be exposing children and teens to sexual predators. Sedentary TV viewing and exposure to commercials for fast food and soda may be increasing the prevalence of childhood obesity. Violent video games may be making our teens more aggressive. Are these fears warranted? In CoverGirls and Guitar Heroes, we will investigate the role of media in shaping the development of children and adolescents. Building upon issues from PACS 01 concerning raising children and media, we will consider the potential risks of media use, and we will also explore the potential benefits that electronic media have to offer children. In accordance with our focus on media, assigned "readings" will include videos, audio clips, and websites alongside scholarly articles and books. Students will explore first hand various forms of youth-oriented media including books, magazines, newspapers, the telephone, music and radio, television, movies, video games, messaging, and the internet. We will also look at media created by youth and try our hand at generating our own videos and wikis. Drawing from this exploration we will create specific policy recommendations for parents, teachers, and politicians regarding children and adolescents' use of media.