Smoking, Sex, and Health Care, Part 2

We must accept on a certain level the strange new world in which we live: one in which young people spend more time planted in front of machines that deliver many, many ambiguous messages to them, instead of with friends and parents.

Smoking, Sex, and Health Care, Part 1

We talk a lot about the potential ill effects associated with youthful over-immersion in the media, but a storyline is emerging with an opposing viewpoint.

Bonfire of the Inanities

The dual subjects of gun control and media violence have been debated extensively and then mysteriously slipped from sight. We would do well to take a step back and review the basic facts about media violence and what professionals in the area of child medicine, psychiatry, and psychology have concluded.

Asperger Nation: On Toddlers Becoming Consumers

An astonishing new phenomenon is now sweeping the nation: the turning of toddlers and preschoolers into consumers of media gadgets. Though many parents are major players in this social trend, there are good reasons for them to pause and contemplate what they are doing.

The American Girl’s Dilemma

Young American females grow up in a kind of cultural vise. Immersion in the media is playing a crucial role in the childhood obesity epidemic. At the same time, the "ideal" body type thrown constantly before their eyes is that of the thin, almost gaunt female—an ideal hopelessly out of reach for most.

Self-Centered: The New Normal?

In a real sense, the zeitgeist in the early 21st century whispers to our kids to take care of themselves and ignore the community at large. We are living in changing times, an era of a poorly studied morality shift.

Taming the Holiday Beast

Modern sentiment regarding the holiday season still relies on the three virtues at the core of the ancient holiday spirit—giving, hope, and the innocent awe of the child—but moves them in troubling directions.

Violence, Inc. and the Advent of the Hero

Why does the problem of daily gun deaths in America seeming so acceptable? Is it the centrality that violence plays in the American identity? We tend to see violence as a solution to problems. In fact many of our greatest heroes wield guns with epic precision.

Boredom, Thrill Kill and the Media Part 2

The idea of thrill kill in both video games and mainstream films and TV emerges as a way to blunt the boredom.

Boredom, Thrill Kill and the Media

With the recent avalanche of reporting after the death of the Australian baseball player out jogging on a residential road in Oklahoma and the arrest of one white and two black teenagers, we were quickly greeted with a media hysteria regarding an innocent white boy murdered by two blacks out of “boredom..."

Streetwalkers in Our Living Rooms

Early exposure to sexually laden content and dangers—porn, predators, and propositions by prostitutes—are now common and easily accessible. Since all youths are curious about sex and yet their judgment is far from well-formed, there are reasons for deep concern on the part of both parents and the society as a whole.

Violent Cartoons and Aggressive Preschoolers

Very young children immersed in pro-social and non-violent cartoons after six months are more sociable children. The kids left to watch violent cartoons manifest more often early signs of aggression.

Cartoon Violence and Children’s Sleep

Certain popular cartoons, like “Bugs Bunny,” “Sponge Bob,” and “Scooby Doo,” seem to have a negative effect on children age 3 to 5.

Teen Love Meets the Internet

Text messaging, Facebook and email are all working to elbow aside usual human communications. Because human relations are intense, confusing, demanding and ambiguous, humans may prefer connections wherein a certain polite distance is retained.

The Crucial Nature of Media Literacy

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen the media permeate deeply into children’s lives. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report sets the amount of media exposure for an average American child at eight hours per day, more time than with family or in school.

Great American Holiday: Super Bowl Sunday

On Super Bowl Sunday in late January, millions of Americans gather in living rooms and family rooms, at bars and at local hangouts. They mingle, laugh and imbibe while a TV in their midst hums out the details of a football game, bifurcated by an entertainment extravaganza at half time, and punctuated by snappy commercials.

Violent Video Games and Adam Lanza's Inner World—Part 2

It seems fair to say that Adam Lanza was an avid gamer, one who had few friends in real life and relied on these games for connection to the outer world.

Violent Video Games and Adam Lanza's Inner World, Part 1

Enough material has now accrued for us to ask certain questions and offer specific conjectures about the inner life of Adam Lanza in the days and even minutes leading up to the Newtown shootings.

Is Internet Addiction Disorder a Valid Idea? Part 2

When parents try, often with my facilitation, to set limits on their kids’ access to the Internet, the children resist, usually mightily, even deviously. Pitched family battles break out, and threats and counter-threats ensue.

Is Internet Addiction Disorder a Valid Idea? Part 1

In my work with children and adolescents, I have seen a growing number of kids drifting into excessive absorption in the Internet. Though this behavior is not usually the primary reason for their first coming to see me, it soon surfaces as a nettling and contentious one.

How to Tame the Holiday Beast

The holidays have evolved to become synonymous with material consumption, especially by kids. Unsurprisingly, the situation often goes awry, with parents running up big bills, buying both their children and themselves lavish presents, which only forment in their kids unreasonable expectations.

How Damaging Can the Media Be?

For decades, social researchers have debated the dangers of children’s exposure to media violence. An average parent might ask, “How dangerous can the media really be?”

What Was the Media's Role in the Aurora Murders?

Is it just a coincidence that the alleged Aurora theater shooter lived a life so inundated with violent media imagery? Or is there a causal connection? What is the link between the media and the alleged murders?

A Response to Puberty Before Age 10: A New Normal?

A recent article in the New York Times Magazine talks about some girls entering puberty today before the age of 10. It may be valuable to place the issue in an historical perspective.

Sexy 7-Year Olds?

With the media joining our families ever more intimately, it has become a common source of children’s sexual education. But how early should this education begin? Age 12? 11? 10? And how explicitly?

Cheers to a Troubled Pop Star

Rihanna's song "Cheers" and her public lifestyle exert a strong influence on teens.

The Media as Parent

In too many American households, the media has elbowed the parent aside in terms of role modeling, value development, and storytelling.