This book is a compilation of work from multiple contributors. It focuses on the media’s effects and benefits on youth development. The research is centered around the importance of media content, context and the characteristics of children.

Content Matters

Media can act as effective teaching tools, be associated with higher academic performance, foster social skills, and encourage healthy lifestyles. What’s important is the message rather than a narrow focus on the media channel.

Keep the Context in Mind

Children now grow up surrounded by digital activities. They spend nearly six hours daily watching TV, playing video games, and using a computer. Consider, however, that children also have parents, teachers, and others in their life. Interaction with other humans is a critical factor in child development. And media can help individuals prepare for life, from family dynamics to natural disasters. Accordingly, it’s important to consider the whole context as it relates to the impact of media on children’s well-being.

Assess Development of the Individual Child

Individual characteristics of children are critical factors. These include familial characteristics, personality traits, and age, among others. For example, age matters because young children don’t yet understand advertisements are a persuasive tactic. Yet when media takes into account the age of the audience, it can be designed to enhance learning. To do so successfully, consideration must be given to how children view the world.

Edited by A. Jordan and D. Romer