"Entertainment media are a major industry in the United States...the entertainment industry is not only economically important, but it carries powerful messages of who we are, how we live, and what we dream. It represents the spirit and culture of America - to ourselves, to the world, and to history."
- Dr. Donald E. Cook, MD, FAAP, AAP President, before the US
     Senate Commerce Committee, 2000



"Media, with which children spend more time than with parents or teachers, have great potential for shaping the hearts, minds and behaviors of America's young people and we need to take this potential very seriously."
                                  -  Dr. Donald E. Cook, MD, FAAP, AAP President,
                                     before the US Senate Commerce Committee, 2000

"MTV: Misogynistic TV -  The "VJ's" do not represent us and the content of the majority of the shows are not geared towards us (even though 90% of the music is performed by us). The shows are aimed toward middle to upper teenaged white america who are enamored with urban "black" culture. Yet if I was white america, I would believe we were a bunch of gold teeth, panties-only, breast implanted, thugs who basically are the new "minstrels" of 2k...pathetic."
        - posted by nekalove on the black woman's message board, thecocoalounge
         (many more opinions like it on the board)

"The commercial logic [of MTV] is the idea that everything is dedicated to the idea of selling something. The whole point of the relationship with the teen is to turn them upside-down and shake all the money out of their pockets. That's the sole purpose of it - the artistic, the creative. There's traditionally been a distinction between the editorial or creative side and the commercial side. It was a common theme in our media for much of the twentieth century."
Robert McChesney, Author, Research   professor,
                  Institute of   Communications Research at the University of Illinois

"We all know more about the personal lives of our favorite movie stars than we do about officials who make decisions that affect our rights and lives directly."
                                  - Ashley Stewart, Youth Radio

For another young woman's take on MTV, read here.


Does media matter?

Well, yes.  In fact, the four principal agents of child socialization are 1) media, 2) parents, 3) school and 4) peers. This socialization dictates what attitudes and emotions about self, others and the world around us are hardwired into our brain. These attitudes and emotions affect our behavior in the future.

Media is so influential in a child's life that it is  now called " the second family."  This may be a misnomer, however, because children spend 2 times as many hours with media - television, movies, ads, magazines, music, the internet - as they do with their parents, and 67% more time with media than in the classroom.  In fact, they spend 4.7 out of 7 leisure hours per day with media.    By the time we're old children of 70,  we've watched 10 years of television alone.

To find out more - read about and watch the informative and always well-crafted PBS Frontline shows "Merchants of Cool" (about MTV) and "The Persuaders" (about media's influence on human behavior).

...Ok, there's no real debate these days that media influences our thinking, and, thus, behavior - even as we get older - or why else would corporations and the US government spend billions on "capturing our hearts and minds" (and now the minds in the Middle East) with ads and political "messages" each year? 

The so-called "debate" is whether media can actually influence  us to do anti-social, unhealthy things and limit our lives and our potential.  The media establishment says "no way!"  but what do doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, teachers and child development experts say?


A 2001 study called TV Violence and Brainmapping in Children documented the actual physical effects of media violence on the brain.  Authored by media studies honcho Professor Ken Murray, a professor of Developmental Psychology at Kansas State University, the study has been accepted by mainstream scientific organizations as proof positive of the detrimental and lasting effects of establishment TV.  Believe it or not, the effect of television violence was a concern as early as 1952 and has been studied - and obscured by industry lobbyists - ever since.

Using MRI's,  Prof. Murray and a team of neuroscientists concluded "the brain is treating the entertainment violence as real violence, " activating that part of the brain - the amygdala - that holds long-term traumatic memories, such as those relating to rape and war. 

And take a look at this:
"In magnitude, television violence is as strongly correlated with aggressive behavior as any other behavioral variable that has been measured." - Prof. Ken Murray, The Impact of Televised Violence  - 1994 Hofstra Law Review.

In fact, neuroscientists have also found "mirror neurons" in HomoSapien brains that send signals to our body chemistry and shape our brains when we are simply watching an activity in person or on video. See NOVA's Mirror Neurons.

You can read about Neuromarketing here.

To be continued!

Check out:

:: Children NOW on the debilitating messages media sends to girls and to boys

:: The A
merican Psychological Association on the connection between violent media
    and violent kids

Dads and Daughters - an amazing organization that "
inspires fathers to actively and
    deeply engage in the lives of their daughters and galvanizes fathers and others to
    transform the pervasive cultural messages that devalue girls and women."

New Moon Publishing for some interesting, creative books that don't exploit people
   or rely on violence to "entertain"!