Media’s Influence on Children and Adolescents Essay

Media’s Influence on Children and Adolescents Essay

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Unlike previous generations who were “introduced” to the internet, television and social media, the present generation is “born” in it. By this statement, it is implied that children today are much closer to technology and media than adults are, and so, are more likely to be affected by it. Perhaps, the highest impact on the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development of children and adolescents is by media due to its ready availability through Smart phones, tablet PCs and other portable devices. This paper attempts to evaluate some of the influences of media on various aspects of child and adolescent development.

Impact on physical development: Excess use of media hinders physical development and growth. The main reason behind this effect is that media such as the internet, video gaming and television promote a sedentary lifestyle, leading to lack of physical exercise. More hours are spent sitting in front of the TV and PC screens than that spent on physical work. This promotes obesity not only because of lack of activity, but also because of the promotion of unhealthy eating habits through junk food advertisements that specially target children. For instance, ad campaigns by McDonalds promote their products by luring children with toys and dummies of their favorite cartoon characters. A number of studies have pointed out numerous negative health outcomes of increased use of media. In a review that assessed 173 studies on the impact of media on child and adolescent health, it was found that media exposure is strongly linked with increased obesity and tobacco use. A moderate association was found between media exposure and alcohol and drug use (Nunez-Smith et al., 2008, p. 1). Another cause of concern is the accelerat...


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Nunez-Smith, M., Wolf, E., Huang, H., Emanuel, E., & Gross, C. (2008). Media and child and adolescent health: a systematic review. San Francisco CA Common Sense Media. Retrieved from http://www.aeforum.org/aeforum.nsf/d5335c270a1f94d380256ef3004240f2/b768d6128ed9446180257569005d08d5/$FILE/Common%20Sense%20Media%20Report%201.pdf

Strasburger, V. C., & Donnerstein, E. (1999). Children, adolescents, and the media: issues and solutions. Pediatrics, 103(1), 129-139. Retrieved from http://www.lionlamb.org/research_articles/strasburger%20'99.pdf

Villani, S. (2001). Impact of media on children and adolescents: a 10-year review of the research. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(4), 392-401. Retrieved from http://www.lionlamb.org/research_articles/01C392.pdf

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