Advertising’s effect on kids: Children’s Christmas lists mirror TV advertisements


It’s only July 1st, but soon enough the back-to-school store promotions will turn into Christmas decorations. Yes, we’re about to enter the season of advertising. And research shows that the season of advertising affects children right through the Christmas holiday.
Continue reading “Advertising’s effect on kids: Children’s Christmas lists mirror TV advertisements”

Improving children’s literacy through shared book reading

reading-1156865_640 copy

I’ve read Green Eggs and Ham so many times that I can repeat it word for word. Same for Good Night Moon and Hop on Pop. My life would be infinitely better if I never have to see those books again! Research shows, however, that kids need the parent-child interaction that happens while reading books together.
Continue reading “Improving children’s literacy through shared book reading”

The Disney Princess study and the parenting conundrum

Unknown-1_0If you’ve been online this week you’ve likely seen the new study about Disney Princesses. Part of the study not being talked about presents an interesting challenge for parents.

When parents ask me how to help their kids best respond to media content, I usually tell them to start talking about the content, and to talk, talk, talk some more. I and my fellow co-authors on the aforementioned study wanted to see if that advice held true when dealing with Disney princesses.
Continue reading “The Disney Princess study and the parenting conundrum”

Research shows preschoolers who watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood develop social and emotional skills

Daneil-Tiger-putting-on-his-sneakers copy

Parents, take heart. Not all TV is bad. New research finds that watching America’s favorite tiger can be good for your developing child.

You remember Mr. Rogers, don’t you? The red sweater. The shoes. The songs. Your kids may not know who he is, but they likely know who Daniel Tiger is. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the animated descendant of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and features children of several characters from the original Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Continue reading “Research shows preschoolers who watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood develop social and emotional skills”

Girls are judged harshly for sending, and for not sending, sexts

selfie-465560_640 copy

Recent research suggests that adolescent boys hold girls to some striking double standards when it comes to sexting.

51 adolescents, a mix of both girls and boys, in three different American cities responded to several open-ended questions about sexting. Researchers analyzed their responses and found that boys judge girls’ sexting behaviors in one of two ways. First, boys think that girls who send sexts are “crazy, insecure, attention-seeking sluts with poor judgment.” At the same time, however, boys categorized girls who didn’t send sexts as “prude,” “goody,” or “stuck up.”
Continue reading “Girls are judged harshly for sending, and for not sending, sexts”

Porn, parents, and kids’ self-worth


Pornography is a near-mainstream part of life for American adolescents. By the time they reach college, research suggests that about 50% of our kids will regularly view pornography. This means that whether your child looks at pornography or not, they will be affected by it in some way. For those who don’t view pornography, they’ll likely date somebody who does, and this has been shown to have negative effects on self-esteem and relationship quality, among other things. Sounds daunting for a parent of four daughters like me.
Continue reading “Porn, parents, and kids’ self-worth”

Un-super heroes


When I was young I wanted to be Daniel LaRusso. You remember Daniel. Karate Kid. Mr. Miyagi and Johnny. I remember watching Karate Kid with my brother on several occasions. After Daniel wins the tournament at the end of the show, my brother and I would inevitably start practicing karate on each other. We perfected the crane move that Daniel used to beat Johnny at the end. We got so good at karate (or so we thought), that one time I got mad at him for spilling grape juice on my favorite blanket so I punched him as hard as I could in a place where I knew it would hurt. I felt so bad about what I did, so I begged him to hit me back. While I can’t remember if he hit me back or not, I do think this is the first instance that I can recall in which I was directly influenced by media exposure. I was imitating my hero.
Continue reading “Un-super heroes”