Media and the American Child

Media and the American Child

1st Edition - March 16, 2007

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  • Authors: George Comstock, Erica Scharrer
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080479378

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Media and the American Child summarizes the research on all forms of media on children, looking at how much time they spend with media everyday, television programming and its impact on children, how advertising has changed to appeal directly to children and the effects on children and the consumer behavior of parents, the relationship between media use and scholastic achievement, the influence of violence in media on anti-social behavior, and the role of media in influencing attitudes on body image, sex and work roles, fashion, & lifestyle. The average American child, aged 2-17, watches 25 hours of TV per week, plays 1 hr per day of video or computer games, and spends an additional 36 min per day on the internet. 19% of children watch more than 35 hrs per week of TV. This in the face of research that shows TV watching beyond 10 hours per week decreases scholastic performance. In 1991, George Comstock published Television and the American Child, which immediately became THE standard reference for the research community of the effects of television on children. Since then, interest in the topic has mushroomed, as the availability and access of media to children has become more widespread and occurs earlier in their lifetimes. No longer restricted to television, media impacts children through the internet, computer and video games, as well as television and the movies. There are videos designed for infants, claiming to improve cognitive development, television programs aimed for younger and younger children-even pre-literates, computer programs aimed for toddlers, and increasingly graphic, interactive violent computer games.

Key Features

  • Presents the most recent research on the media use of young people
  • Investigates the content of children's media and addresses areas of great concern including violence, sexual behavior, and commercialization
  • Discusses policy making in the area of children and the media
  • Focuses on experiences unique to children and adolescents


Faculty and graduate students in social psychology, sociology, cognitive development, education, communication, media studies, advertising and marketing.

Table of Contents

  • I. Demographics and Preferences in Media Use, with Special Attention to the Very Young
    II. The Extraordinary Appeal of Screen Media
    III. The World as Portrayed by Media
    IV. Effects of Media on Scholastic Performance and the Developing Intellect
    V. Young Customers—Creating the Modern Consumer through Advertising and Marketing
    VI. Television Violence, Aggression, and other Behavioral Effects
    VII. Learning Rules and Norms—Further Evidence of Media Effects
    VIII. Knowledge for What?

Product details

  • No. of pages: 392
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2007
  • Published: March 16, 2007
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080479378

About the Authors

George Comstock

George Comstock earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University. He currently is the S.I. Newhouse Professor at the School of Public Communication, Syracuse University in the Television-Radio-Film Department. He is the author of Television and the American Child and was the senior author of the original Television and Human Behavior.Professor Comstock is a social psychologist and expert on the social effects of mass media. He is former science advisor and senior research coordinator of U.S. Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior. Professor Comstock teaches classes insocial effects of television and communication research methods.

Affiliations and Expertise

Syracuse University, New York, U.S.A.

Erica Scharrer

Erica Scharrer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Massachusetts and studies media content, opinions about media, and media influence.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, U.S.A.

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