Ed Donnerstein, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
University of Arizona
Over the years, parents, policy makers, and educators have been concerned with the impact of the mass media on children. Some of these concerned voices have argued that exposure to the mass media can lead to negative effects such as aggression, sexual promiscuity, and use of drugs and alcohol.
In this presentation, we explore the effect that exposure to different types of content (e.g., violence, sex, drugs, alcohol) in television and film have on young viewers' socioemotional development. To this end, we review research on how much time youngster's spend with the mass media, what types of depictions they are routinely exposed to, and the possible negative effects of such exposure.
We then discuss how the newest mass media - the Internet - may be effecting children and adolescents.
The presentation concludes with solutions to mitigating the potentially harmful effects of exposure to negative content.