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RESEARCH UPDATE REVIEW

This series of 10-year updates in child and adolescent psychiatry began in July 1996. Topics are selected in
consultation with the AACAP Committee on Recertification, both for the importance of new research and
its clinical or developmental significance. The authors have been asked to place an asterisk before the 5 or 6
most seminal references.
M.K.D.

Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents:
A 10-Year Review of the Research

SUSAN VILLANI, M.D.

ABSTRACT
Objective: To review the research literature published within the past 10 years regarding the impact of media on children and
adolescents. Method: Media categories researched with computer technology included television and movies, rock music
and music videos, advertising, video games, and computers and the Internet. Results: Research prior to 1990 documented
that children learn behaviors and have their value systems shaped by media. Media research since has focused on content
and viewing patterns. Conclusions: The primary effects of media exposure are increased violent and aggressive behavior,
increased high-risk behaviors, including alcohol and tobacco use, and accelerated onset of sexual activity. The newer forms
of media have not been adequately studied, but concern is warranted through the logical extension of earlier research on
other media forms and the amount of time the average child spends with increasingly sophisticated media. J. Am. Acad. Child
Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2001, 40(4):392–401. Key Words: media, television, violence, sexual activity, substance use.

Concern from parents, professionals, and the populace at through a brief summary of review articles, policy state-
large about the impact of the media on children and ado- ments, and scientific books. This literature, while not
lescents has grown steadily over recent years. Recent new research, is important because it provides a historical
events, most prominently the school murders of the past 2 context for the research of the 1990s. The following spe-
years, in Pearl, Mississippi; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Paducah, cific categories of media were chosen for research review:
Kentucky; and Littleton, Colorado, have drawn attention television and movies, music and rock videos, advertis-
to the volatile confluence of culture and psychopathology. ing, video games, and computers and the Internet. These
It has become imperative for clinicians to understand the were selected because they are standard components of
role of media exposure on children in order to diagnose the American child’s media diet, often occupying large
and treat behavioral problems as well as to prevent further amounts of time on a daily basis.
tragedies.
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
This review synthesizes relevant media research since
1990 regarding the impact of media on children and ado- Dietz and Strasburger’s review (1991) summarized the
lescents. It begins by providing a historical overview research of the previous 20 years, which demonstrated
the multiple effects of television on child and adolescent
cognition and behavior. Looking at topics ranging from
Accepted November 20, 2000.
Dr. Villani is Medical Director, School Programs, Kennedy Krieger Institute,
cognitive development, to obesity, to aggressive behavior
Baltimore. She is also Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University and violence, drug use, suicide, sexual activity, and the
School of Medicine, Baltimore. promotion of stereotyping, this article highlighted earlier
Reprint requests to Dr. Villani, Kennedy Krieger School, 1750 E. Fairmount findings and provided the basis for much of the recent
Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21231.
0890-8567/01/4004-0392q2001 by the American Academy of Child research. From this point, particularly in the area of tele-
and Adolescent Psychiatry. vision and movies, the research became heavily oriented

392 J . A M . A C A D . C H I L D A D O L E S C . P S YC H I AT RY, 4 0 : 4 , A P R I L 2 0 0 1

Media. shaped by exposure to media. cation as an effective approach to help mitigate against the learn behaviors. The greatest effect size was demonstrated Each statement defined the extent of the problem. Psychodynamic. on Communications. and some Latin model described by Zillman and Weaver (1989) and American countries as having successfully incorporated Mullin and Linz (1995). The authors. (1994) looked at the effects of television violence on anti- tee on Communications. The authors concluded that exposure to media 1996) violence increases aggressive interactions with strangers. and Clinical Per- Donnerstein (1999) updated the media topic by provid. plus sections on the effects of violence and horror. “Children. with 85% of the sample aged 6 to 21 years. and Television”(Committee between television violence and aggressive behavior. 1995b) The analysis revealed a positive and significant correlation • “Children. the least ommendations for practicing pediatricians to use in their problematic. spectives (Zillman et al. and the premise of this policy is research which strongly suggests effect size for erotica and violent erotica combined was that media education may result in young people becom.. classmates. Paik and Comstock • “Sexuality. and have their value systems significantly potentially harmful effects of various media on children. 4 0 : 4 . A C A D . Contraception. by the nature of their age and size.” is a culmination of dered about the long-term consequences of such large the previous policies designed to complement the AAP’s effects on subsequent behavior. Three scientifically oriented books are noteworthy. 1994) also Media: Issues and Solutions. The most to the nature of the aggression being dismissed and won- recent statement. and survey data. A P R I L 2 0 0 1 393 . health professionals. The effect on males was 5-year “Media Matters” public education campaign. This later ing less vulnerable to negative aspects of media exposure. and govern. Adolescents. Adolescents. the policy state. and the Media” (Commit.. Wood et al. with the ment urges that the United States embrace media edu- widely accepted premise that children gain knowledge. More recently. in a prescient way. “Media Education. P S YC H I AT RY. MEDIA RESEARCH REVIEW toward content analysis and viewing patterns. this article detailed research. Strasburger and Family: Social Scientific. Great Britain. In a larger review of 217 studies 1995c) conducted between 1957 and 1990. (1991) examined 28 research reports on 1999) children and adolescents exposed to media violence and • “Impact of Music Lyrics and Rock Music Videos on subsequently observed in unconstrained social inter- Children and Youth” (Committee on Communications. even though the aggression they described the existing research. and provided relevant rec. C H I L D A D O L E S C . outcome is viewed as supportive of the “sexual callousness” Citing Canada. Australia. • “Media Violence” (Committee on Communications. 1990s. Small Screen: The Role of Television in “Physician Guide to Media Violence” (Walsh et al. cautioned as everyday work with children and families. Adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has pub- TELEVISION AND MOVIES lished five well-researched policy statements pertaining to the media during the past decade: Two major meta-analytic reviews were published in the • “Media Education” (Committee on Public Education. 1995a) social behavior. Particularly noteworthy are chapters describing how governmental publications. The In 1996 the American Medical Association’s brochure first. The only slightly higher than the effect on females. greater than that for violence only programs. the media. and Advertising” (Committee 70 years of age. The age range represented was from 3 to • “Children. A M . family. 1996) American Society (Huston et al. and the in Theory and Research (Bryant and Zillman. actions. 1994) and Media Effects: Advances ing an overview article. 1995d) regardless of age. on Communications. or without violence that depicts women as promiscuous J . 1992). The article media has affected family life and the reality of children’s summarizes the research findings and examines the roles use of the media being primarily socialized (learned) in the of parents. began as a review further highlighted the direct correlation between media by the American Psychological Association of research- exposure and violent behavior and called on physicians to based studies done in the previous 20 years in behavioral incorporate a media history into the routine assessment of psychology and communications journals.” With more than 150 refer. sexual content. and the effects of erotica and pornography. which proposed that erotica with media education into school curricula. ment in providing solutions. years.. review the most authoritative scholars of the previous 30 ences. Big World. as well as gov- patients as part of an effort to stem the growing epidemic ernment surveys and studies. exhibited was. Children and the of violence in America. popular press articles. and friends. for preschool children.

at all acknowledging television exposure as only one factor that hours of the day in three consecutive years from 1994– influences violence.000 hours of programming the last year before television was introduced. criticism. 1996.000 fewer homicides in the United States each year. Television viewing also occurs earlier than other search rated attractive perpetrator. Trauma Symptoms. with 10% reporting that they sought with the violence. early ages as an alternative to more developmentally Centerwall (1992) raised further concerns about tele- authentic human interaction. and humor and graphic violence associated with pre- concern and public debate about television viewing at an dicting desensitization. Television violence contributes to antisocial effects on among children who watch television. examined more than 10. included bad dreams and nightmares. C H I L D A D O L E S C . 1997. Centerwall hypothesized that if tele- 1997.000 in 1974. Violence Study (Federman. With the content established as consistent over each of Recent research has continued to focus on television. lence. and almost 75% of violent acts involv. which families see (Bryant. To the contrary. in a study using a self-report question- involving the use of weapons.245 students. Symptoms reported ing no evident remorse. and in 41% of the incidents. Centerwall examined the the distinction between television fare and movies. with an alarming amount of violence pre. causing great fear. Three primary effects arise from viewing televised vio. 1990) and have significantly reduced become operant in adulthood. noted that committed by “attractive perpetrators. of violence per year. be 10.000 fewer rapes. the National Television South African homicide rate had reached 5.to 15-year vision and movie channels have also dramatically lag between the time of childhood exposure to television increased the diversity of what young people and their and the primary behavior-modifying effects.” more than 50% 75% reported exposure to violence in the media at mod- of violent incidents showing no apparent pain associated erate to high levels. and humor as associated with learning aggression. 394 J . often beginning before age 2 years. In addition.5 per 100. with 26% of violent interactions Kaschak (1998). There was surprising consistency of the data from vision technology had never been developed. there would year to year. A P R I L 2 0 0 1 . The predicted child spends more than 21 hours per week viewing tele. Postulating a 10. presence of weapons. anxious feelings.8 per 100. (1995) examined viewing preferences. survey of 2. Two current articles have looked at lence of some kind. the last volume attempted to identify how largely because children spend the most time with this each of nine specific contextual features heightens the medium and it reaches the youngest ages. children who showed a preference b.000 fewer injurious assaults. Nielsen Media probability that a given depiction of violence will generate Research (1998) data indicate that the average American one of the three primary types of effects. cable and noncable. In an effort to understand the television into South Africa in 1975. The three volumes of the National Television Vio.000 acts 70. Joshi and was also consistent. P S YC H I AT RY. exposed. Although across a variety of channels. or penalty for the vio. missing school. graphic in the past year. counseling for the negative sequelae. Singer et al. The rapid proliferation of vision and violence through epidemiological research videocassette recorders and the expansion of cable tele. humor accompanied the violence being afraid of being alone. 1998) rigorously a 130% increase from the rate of 2. It was estimated that young people view 10. change in the homicide rates following the introduction of Violence and Aggression. 4 0 : 4 . A C A D . forms of media. Not all violence poses the same degree of risk of these attitudes or behavior toward women among males so harmful effects.000. Desensitization to violence for viewing “action and fighting shows” reported higher c. lence Study concluded the following: symptoms of psychological trauma. sent. impact of contextual factors based on social science re- vision. Fear of being victimized by violence levels of violent behaviors. television shows particularly designed to violence and realistic violence associated with generating appeal to infants and toddlers have emerged. The type of violence and the context trauma symptoms and television watching. with 61% of shows containing vio. showed that 2. The data from their viewers. Learning of aggressive behaviors and attitudes behaviors. the 3 years. the white content of American television. A M . grades 3 through 8. withdrawing from friends. spanning more than 20 years. and 700. and violent behaviors 1. children who watched more than 6 hours of television per lence: day reported more trauma symptoms and more violent a. With.VILLANI may encourage the subsequent development of callous 3. As of 1987. 38% of violent acts being naire administered to 702 high school students.

a 4-fold in. 1981. primarily by Cantor (1989. cheating. envy. rettes. cutting class. were used by siblings and spouses. there are no such studies on children. 1990a. the portrayals are Signorielli (1993) reported separately that a viewer can not predominantly antisocial. described dren are routinely being exposed to such violence on a as the most extensive study ever conducted of sexual con. and more destructive strategies the 1980s demonstrated that alcoholic beverages are com. 7th. more than 1. but even here this occurred only 23% of experienced. Content analyses of movies in Comstock and age evening of television. rivalry in family interactions in prime-time network eos and movies on television more frequently. A second study by Comstock and Strzyzewski (1990) and driving a car without permission) increased among examined the depiction of conflict. Jaws. Klein and colleagues’ (1993) findings involved spouses.. The authors concluded monly portrayed either neutrally or positively (Breed and that although family conflict and jealousy are frequently De Foe. Surveys have shown that many children sible risks or responsibilities of sexual activity or any refer. However. it is clear crease from 1976 (Kunkel et al. are exposed to frightening movies such as Poltergeist. regardless of programs. stealing. or parental education level. and mothers were most likely to engage in conflict- (1993) examined data derived from in-home surveys of resolving behaviors. intact families were least likely to of the coverage as described by parents.) currently contains actual rape victims (Linz et al. Wallack et al. conflict situations involved parents and children. Klein et al. A P R I L 2 0 0 1 395 . drinking. protection. of the Persian Gulf War revealed no differences in prev- evision shows. MEDIA RESEARCH REVIEW High-Risk Behaviors. C H I L D A D O L E S C . and adolescents who listened to radio and watched music vid. and 13% involved siblings. ence to contraception. particularly susceptible viewers. observe more than a dozen drinking episodes in one aver. The fear response deserves separate consideration nels were analyzed. 19% Substance Abuse.. regular basis from early ages.to 16-year-old adolescents in conflict were diverse. smoking ciga.. gender. A closer Halloween. Research from most by mothers and sons. 1989). Hoffner. or safer sex. The report goes on to present survey data reveal. 4th. 4 0 : 4 . Skill and Wallace Survey research (Cantor et al. duct on television.300 shows across 10 chan. A substantial por- examination of media content by genre showed that it tion of children subsequently indicated regret that they was talk shows that most often addressed sexual risk or watched because of the intensity of the fright reactions responsibility. Strzyzewski’s (1990) study revealed the disturbing fact that Sexual Promiscuity. The Kaiser Foundation report indicated and violent erotica showing them to be less sympathetic to “family hour” of television (8 to 9 P. only 9% contain any reference to the pos.b). Fear.. Participation in eight potentially risky family types tended to display respect and concern for behaviors (sexual intercourse. The amount of sexual material. P S YC H I AT RY. Although including sexually violent material. demonstrating that transitory fright responses occur in a ing that 76% of teenagers indicate that one reason young substantial proportion of children and that intense and people have sex is because television shows and movies even debilitating reactions affect a small proportion of make it seem more normal for teenagers. and 11th graders regarding reactions to televised coverage olution in families as depicted in prime-time network tel. risky behaviors by adolescents. one another.760 randomly selected 14. Grube (1993) and portrayed on prime-time television. The strategies shown for resolving 2. The data showed that more than 30% of the race.. 1993) of 1st. A M . However. one of eight Hollywood films depicts a rape. for obvious reasons more than eight sexual incidents per hour. and parents and children across 10 urban areas. Major findings included the following: alence of intense negative emotional reactions. A C A D . and Friday the Thirteenth. with younger J . smoking marijuana. jealousy. 1996). were used is portrayed in television programming. Television viewing has also been engage in conflict escalation and blended families were shown to be associated with less dramatic. Cantor and sexual content. has increased over the there are studies on college age subjects exposed to erotica past decade. In the most recent from content analysis of television and movies that chil- Kaiser Foundation study (Kunkel et al. 1990).M. Integrative are consistent with content-based research on how alcohol strategies. (1990) studied patterns of interpersonal conflict and res. 1999). brothers were most likely to escalate conflict concerning. 1991. considered to be the most healthy. Cantor (1991) summarized this research as the time. conflict-resolving acts occurred almost twice as often as children at different ages were upset by different aspects conflict-escalating acts. The Family and Family Interactions. The results show that while more than from violence because of the extensive work in the 1980s 50% of shows—and 66% of prime-time shows—contain and 1990s. but still very most likely.

driving at speeds of greater than 80 mph. The authors concluded that the greater the extent of stated that although there were no studies documenting a heavy metal subculture. A C A D . suicidality. (1993) surveyed 247 high school students transient nature of fear responses has not been adequately in two Australian government high schools about their studied. Many of these adolescents report that prevent long-term distress. and family dys- and those who saw a movie with a house fire were less function. The issue of the Martin et al. but instead that the heavy metal licized events. and the effects were short-lived who may choose hard rock/heavy metal music because its because talking with the children about what they had themes resonate with their own feelings of frustration. have generally shown mild high levels of sensation-seeking behavior. identify 11% without responsible adult intervention. pared with 71% of the boys preferring hard rock/heavy tions (Cantor and Omdahl. behavior. tients. “depression. Took and Weiss (1994) further questioned the rela- 396 J . A M . A P R I L 2 0 0 1 . and acceptance of risk-taking behaviors. conceptual aspects. They suggested that there is a group of young eager to build a fire in a fireplace. They also reported significant associations self-reports of worry after exposure to dramatized depic.VILLANI children more upset by the visual aspects of coverage and Several studies have in fact looked at whether music older by the more abstract. Weidinger and Demi (1991) provided the dren to overcome their fear through cognitive strategies. alienation. metal and hard rock as a musical preference and reckless dren (Hoffner and Cantor. 15). however. that depicted a drowning were less willing to go canoeing. The author cautioned that the results not be Field surveys of real-world disasters and highly pub. rock music lyrics became between the subculture of heavy metal magazine subscrip- more explicit in their references to sex and drugs (Fedler tions and adolescent suicide was examined in all 50 United et al.” “delinquency. 1982). P S YC H I AT RY. turbed or drug-abusing adolescents in a small sample of dren processed information differently. which is marked by violent lyrics and adverse behavioral effects. 1991). “nurtures suicidal ample evidence given the content to be concerned about tendencies already present in the subculture” (p. there 60 adolescents hospitalized on a psychiatric unit. One can nonetheless speculate listening to hard rock/heavy metal music actually makes about the impact of accumulated fear over time in youths them feel happier. drug real. For example. and chaos. A few studies have area about their musical preferences and reckless behav- used news and documentary programming to look at the iors. Those who saw a movie and suicidal thoughts. bias. The not happen to you” have shown that it is very difficult to results demonstrated a clear association between heavy explain away threats that have induced fear in young chil. The study of such is difficult because the process musical preferences and aspects of their psychological of interview inquiry may have a secondary therapeutic health and lifestyle. and despair. the higher the suicide rate. acts of deliberate self-harm. The duration of these people with preexisting personal family psychopathology effects was not measured. ROCK MUSIC AND MUSIC VIDEOS In a larger study by Stack et al. of the sample who claimed that listening made them feel sadder and postulated that it is perhaps this group that is at most risk for suicidal behavior. sexual promiscuity. such as the space shuttle Challenger disaster and hard rock music appeals to adolescents who have (Cantor and Omdahl. Using a smaller clinical sample of 88 psychiatric pa- typing. C H I L D A D O L E S C . (1994).. seen and how it might have affected them was done to rage. The results showed a marked gender effect and reduce symptoms. there is themes of despair. Studies using explanations such as “this probably will use. however. The AAP’s revised policy statement in 1996 States. interpreted as causative. They cause-and-effect relationship between sexually explicit or further asserted that this music. desensitization to violence. preference is associated with adolescent turmoil and even Further research has been conducted on helping chil. promotion of sex-role stereo. and transient responses in young viewers. 4 0 : 4 . The reckless behaviors included driving while intox- effect of reassuring children when the threat is actually icated. who surveyed 248 stu- a warning about the unreality of the situation they were dents in 10th and 12th grade in a southern metropolitan about to see (Wilson and Weiss. This was no fear reduction when young children were provided was followed by Arnett (1992).” drug taking. shoplifting. 1990). between a preference for hard rock/heavy metal music tion of a house fire or a drowning. the relationship During the 1970s and 1980s. 1991) examined children’s metal music. The article did. first look at the preference for heavy metal music in dis- Again it was demonstrated. that younger chil. and vandalism. 1991). with 74% of the girls preferring pop music com- A study that potentially bears on long-term implica.

U. Sexuality was also February 1990 on 222 patients on six wards of a forensic portrayed in a higher percentage of videos with drinking. hospital between the ages of 18 and 67 years. 10 genre. The study showed 22% of MTV videos portraying logo recognition in a sample of 229 children in two pre- overt violence. A M . rette brands. by age 6 years the sil- J . and black incidents per week from 44 to 27 after removal of MTV males and females were overrepresented compared with that was further supported by time-series analysis. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in White females were most frequently victims. that those who preferred heavy metal and rap had worse Durant et al. and While advertising has not been as extensively studied “fandom” on how older adolescent audiences interpreted as television programming. (1998) looked at the differences in the two television sets on each ward were often tuned to the genders and races portrayed as aggressors and victims in Music Television (MTV) network. Although the initial results indicated cents 8%. Six recently published studies looked carefully at the ADVERTISING content and possible effects of music videos. (1992) examined the potential causal effect young people. males more than three times as likely to be aggressors. with white viewers almost twice as likely tising media on the attitudes of young children and ado- as African-American viewers to see the video “Papa Don’t lescents in ways that ultimately shape later behaviors. the aggressor was an attractive role model. (1997b) examined the content of tobacco school grades. Brown and Schulze (1990) examined the effects of race. 1995). Among the videos with weap. increased and alcohol use behaviors on television. A P R I L 2 0 0 1 397 . their observation that at least one and often both of the Rich et al. the tobacco industry spent $6 billion on advertising Building on studies from the 1980s which showed the (Report to Congress for 1993 Pursuant to the Federal frank violent content of more than 50% of MTV. MEDIA RESEARCH REVIEW tionship between musical preference and adolescent tur. but differences with counseling in elementary school for school problems the other networks were not statistically significant. This study was the first to include rap music as a were engaged in violence 11% of the time and adoles- preference category. aged 3 to 6 years. by examining brand work). The study was prompted by uality or eroticism. and the with products targeted to children. and BET (Black Entertainment Net. (1997a) analyzed the content of 518 music videos Tobacco. and increased drug and alcohol use and showed that a high percentage (26%) of MTV videos arrests. 4 0 : 4 . and seeing signs of 15% of the videos contained portrayals of individuals clinical deterioration after prolonged viewing. A C A D . 1991) from MTV. While. more school behavior problems. Of remained significant. Similarly. The seminal study (Fischer et al. a child was portrayed as carrying the weapon 15% higher for subjects aged 3. During the past decade research has focused on the areas American viewers were twice as likely to see it as a story of tobacco and alcohol advertising. Preach” as being about teenage pregnancy. only below-average portrayed tobacco use. 20% of rap videos portrayed violence. since in 1993 alone about father–daughter relationships.45 (SD) years. eos (approximately 19%). the studies of the past decade two Madonna music videos. as expected. children moil. Their study showed a clear document in a compelling fashion the influence of adver- racial difference. videos that portrayed alcohol and tobacco of music television on violent behavior. when controlled for gender. demographics as both aggressors and victims. young children. CMT (Country looked specifically at the influence of advertising on very Music Television). note. the Disney Channel logo recognition was ons. The results showed that of sexual and violent themes present. 5 representing ciga- carrying of weapons was the highest in rap and rock vid. The percentage of alcohol use on current and elementary school grades and a history of MTV was still the highest at 27%. with the other three networks carrying schools in Georgia. with incidents before and after MTV removal on the wards. C H I L D A D O L E S C . mean age BET contained the highest percentage of videos with sex- 28. whereas African. given the influence of modeling and imitation in Waite et al. et al.S. P S YC H I AT RY.. they engaging in overt interpersonal violence. of the time and an adolescent 8%. VH1 (Video Hits One). 4. and 5. gender. Noting the high levels acts of violence in music videos. The results sexual activity. They collected use depicted the lead performer as most often the one data over a 55-week period between January 1989 and observed to be smoking or drinking. As for music with a picture of the product using 22 brand logos. and 7 with logos targeted to adults.65 ± 9. In more than designed a study that looked at the number of assaultive 80%. Durant Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. Each child was asked to match a logo programs of which 11% involved violence.

have lege and professional sports events representing 443. with a total of 685 alcohol Altman et al. compared with games in the United States has been meteoric. who admon- Each study has documented a strong association be. taste. and (2) an index classifying the indi. Grube and Wallack (1994) looked specif. intention to drink as an adult. commercials shown.VILLANI houette of Mickey Mouse and the face of Old Joe Camel ically at the relationship between television beer advertis- were equally recognized and correctly matched by all ing and drinking knowledge. using self-administered ques- ence of various advertising and marketing techniques and tionnaires and structured interviews. and relaxation. Spanning a 3-year period from 1993 to 1996. from $100 those who did not. 1983. were twice as likely either to have million in 1985 to $7 billion in 1994 (Provenzo. Two hundred eight unique beer tobacco promotional items and smoking susceptibility: commercials were identified. parental and peer approval of drinking. the 47 most popular video games were violent. Children with more knowledge of beer brands brand he or she might buy. knowledge ined data on 3. awareness of beer advertising. The pos- promotional item. are dangerous when combined with drinking and not to motions and subsequent susceptibility to tobacco use. A C A D . vision viewing. Evans et al. started smoking by 1996 or to be willing to start. Pierce et al. beliefs. with events from fall 1990 and 1992. survey of oriented to product image. week.536 adolescents who had never smoked to of beer brands and slogans. and willingness to use a tobacco-related and more frequently intended to drink as adults. Dorman (1997) provided a comprehensive review of the 398 J . and peer drinking. having a favorite advertisement. and adolescents. The relationship of receptivity to advertising and suscep.S. Studies from the 1980s showed significant cor. The events included col- large sample sizes and different geographical locales. and 40 of drinking beliefs and behaviors (Atkin et al. sociability. and the intention to children. the study found that adolescents who had a The annual industry growth of video and computer favorite cigarette advertisement in 1993. or quality. 1991). In the 1990s two major studies Very few research articles have examined the effects of examined the effects of alcohol advertising on children this billion-dollar industry on children and adolescents. The relation between exposure to alcohol advertising and content of almost half of the games was violent. dations of former Surgeon General Koop. and slogans held more favorable beliefs about drinking motional item. (1998). use endorsements of celebrities. owning a tobacco-related pro. perceived parental tivity to advertising as evidenced by recognition of adver. survey of 1. they surveyed and negative). 1981). themes were noted as clearly at odds with the recommen- survey of 1. Boys played more frequently in video arcades (50% Alcohol. survey of 1. alcohol beliefs (both positive determine their susceptibility to smoking. (1996). ished the advertising industry not to portray activities that tween an awareness of and involvement with tobacco pro. exposure to promotional tobacco VIDEO AND COMPUTER GAMES items. naming a variables. link between advertising. especially those who Pierce’s study was the only longitudinal examination of the appeal to youths. indicating that and tobacco advertising through extensive content analysis advertising is a more powerful influence than exposure to of advertising in a random sample of 166 televised sports peer or family smoking.7 looked more specifically at the relationship between hours of broadcasting. They measured tele- later susceptibility to smoking. later drink.2 hours per or to be willing to start.and eighth-grade stu- who owned or were willing to own a promotional item dents regarding the frequency and location of video game were three times as likely to have started smoking by 1996 use.. and those Funk (1993) surveyed 357 seventh. (1996). compared with only 20% of girls playing in arcades). itive values associated with drinking included romance. perceived two indices: (1) a 5-point index of an individual’s recep. A M . Madden and Grube (1994) furthered this area of tibility to smoking was stronger than the relationship of research by looking at the frequency and nature of alcohol family or peer smoking and susceptibility. and later smoking. The sample queried was a random group of Subsequent studies of older ages considered the influ. A P R I L 2 0 0 1 . (1995) exam. 4 0 : 4 . independent of use of cigarettes in the home. The average time spent playing was 4. 1988. C H I L D A D O L E S C .752 California adolescents aged 12–17 years.265 rural New Hampshire and driving or water-related activities. Four recent research articles. Sargent et al. These images and Vermont youths aged 10–19 years. and demographic and background tising messages. random U. Atkin and Block. 468 fifth and sixth graders.047 ado. Only 10% of the commercials were lescents aged 12–17 years. with 15% 571 California adolescents aged 13 years. P S YC H I AT RY. showing celebrity endorsement and 37% containing either (1997). Schooler et al. vidual’s reported exposure to family and peer smoking.

Subrahmanyam and from standard teaching techniques. Four studies have examined the relationships between further research is indicated to delineate each. in a study of kindergarten children various forms of media. There still remains no research in influenced. A M . skews the child’s the specific area of violent games and children. In another study. time children and adolescents continue to spend with Shimai et al. particularly where the content is violent. the spatial performance. With the dawn of the millennium and further rapid The literature on violent games is non–research-based. Keepers (1990) reported a single effect on the growth and development of children just as case study of video game preoccupation. Ferrie et al. mentary students and found no relationship between combined with survey information about how much video game use and social adjustment. how the military train soldiers to kill by media use. drug. one can predict that time spent with its origin in the military and law enforcement appli. J . Whether through Greenfield (1994) found video games useful in teaching television or computers. and alters his/her capacity for successful. with current media. Additional studies with Japanese children also The predominant theme of the research literature of support that video game–playing is not associated with the 1990s was the careful delineation of content in all social maladjustment. There is no doubt development in several areas of social skills compared that media has a tremendous capacity to teach. music lyrics or music videos. noted that almost all were com- seizures. 4 0 : 4 . different with nonplayers. is an example of a statewide school Research. part of their internal world. anarchist-oriented material. The speed and easy access to the third of the cases had documented previous seizures. 61% report “surfing ing Media (McCannon. video game–induced recent school killers. particularly for children with rel. increases high-risk behaviors. This leads to further concerns about ing. forms of the typical American child’s media diet. cation of classical conditioning and operant condition. Other curricula are being developed rapidly. video games do not dismiss their capacity to teach violence. sustained human relationships. sexually explicit. David Grossman described in his book On Killing: the potential for increased social isolation and limited The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and capacity to understand human relationships. advances in technology. The fact that the Of the 36 references. thus either directly or subtly These few studies that look at the teaching ability of influencing their behavior. yet 89% of training will take a major place in education. McGee and DeBernardo (1999). in response to linkages made between recent killers and and it is hoped that they will become a part of the lexicon computer use. a CD-ROM teaching the net. in their for helping children to grow emotionally healthy. This kind of media literacy studied using research techniques to date. video games and aggression versus prosocial effects. MEDIA RESEARCH REVIEW research looking at potential negative consequences in five article describing “school avengers. (1990). using video games much like those being played daily by gender-stereotyped. and aggression and prosocial behavior.” a profile of the areas: cardiovascular implication. Scott (1995) examined college students and found little support DISCUSSION for the theory of playing games as inducing aggressive behavior. Sakamoto (1994) studied 307 ele. and new forms yet to be developed. This.” pathological preoccupation puter-savvy and frequented sites where they could obtain with video games. will only increase. To the contrary. 1997).” and 14% report seeing something that they do device developed as part of the New Mexico Media not want their parents to know about (Princeton Survey Literacy Project. found them to have superior cern about what children are learning. messages conveyed are received by children and become atively poor skills in this area. Understand- teenagers report using a computer. (1994) documented 50 cases computers than their parents adds an additional level of of video game–induced seizures reported worldwide. Although it is other such case reports. One concern for parents. Excessive Society (1996). likely that it will have both positive and negative effects. few are research articles printed in current generation of children are often more adept with the past decade. violent. 1999).or alcohol- millions of children. world view. not world through the web of cyberspace will clearly have an related to video games. COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET Studies are needed that look at how the harmful effects The use of computers and the Internet has not been of media can be prevented. A P R I L 2 0 0 1 399 . A C A D . Commentaries and news stories abound approach. P S YC H I AT RY. leads naturally to growing con- who played video games. “Nintendinitis. yet there are no other forms of media have contributed. or filled with human tragedy. C H I L D A D O L E S C .

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