If we consider story-telling around camp fires and drawings on cave walls as media, then we can say children have been influenced by media since the dawn of civilization. The invention of printing, electrical power, radio, phonograph, movies, television, portable disc players, computers and the Internet has greatly expanded the province of media and its influence. When busy parents and care-takers use television as a nanny for children, TV becomes a bonded family member. It has changed the way we process information and deal with authority.
As children approach puberty, music, magazines, and advertisements take on new importance. We are subject to thousands of commercial stories and messages each day. Marketers target children and youth because they tend to remain brand-loyal. Consumption is part of our identities; consumerism part of our popular religion.
Analysis and discernment are needed to sort out the positive and negative aspects of media. Children and youth want more than our conclusions. They need tools with which to make their own healthy decisions. We hope to provide some tools and resources for this challenge.
See also the media topic in our CYS Infopedia.
Adweek This online home to Adweek magazine offers a glimpse into what advertisers are learning about contemporary trends, culture, and methodologies for marketing to different market segments.
Cable in the Classroom A resource for educators and the public. It is useful for anyone desiring to know what is on TV and how to use it for educational purposes.
Center for Parent and Youth Understanding One of the best sites in keeping parents, teenagers, and youth leaders up on current happenings, trends, personalities, and challenges in pop culture. They put out a quarterly e-newsletter, “Youth Culture @ today.” You’ll also find a review of current books, an educational DVD, and Internet links on youth culture and ministry.
Channel One The online home of the daily news broadcast funneled into middle schools and high schools across the USA. In addition to news, the site offers teen oriented content on life, health, homework and more. Useful curriculum offered for educators to help promote media literacy.
Pauline Center for Media Studies A Catholic analysis (through the Daughters of St. Paul) of pop culture that is very helpful.
Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In” A conservative, comprehensive, evangelical view of what is happening in Pop Culture.
Launch Yahoo’s Music Video Site: Here you can review full-length videos along with news and information about performers.
National Institute on Media and the Family Billed as “fun, thought-provoking, and valuable,” this site includes loads of media literacy information, press releases, research findings, and interactive pages. Particularly helpful are the tools families can use to evaluate their media habits and health. The “Video and Computer Game Report Card” is an excellent source of information.
Parents Television Council A project of the Media Research Center “to bring America’s demand for values-driven television programming to the entertainment industry.” The site includes up-to-date suggestions for family-friendly viewing, suggestions on how to influence television programming, a family guide to prime time television, and lots of research and analysis.
Project Look Sharp Ithaca University’s excellent communications program offers this resource for anyone seeking to build media literacy resources into a classroom setting.
Teach With Movies Hoping to make films more than just entertainment, this site helps parents and teachers utilize films as teaching tools on a variety of topics. Included are lists of recommended teaching films and learning guides available on the site.
TV Turnoff Network A non-profit organization that encourages children and adults to watch less television in order to develop healthier lives and communities. The site promotes the TV-Turnoff Week and includes media literacy materials as well as links to other like-minded organizations.
Ypulse Daily news and commentary on Generation Y for media and marketing professionals.