About the Author

George DrinkaGeorge F. Drinka, MD is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the author of The Birth of Neurosis: Myth, Malady and the Victorians (Simon & Schuster).  He has also written for the New York Time Book Review and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Dr. Drinka offers unique expertise in a numbers of areas related to the topic of his new book. In addition to his work with children and adolescents as a psychiatrist, he is a psychotherapist, a cultural historian and an acclaimed storyteller who focuses on the human condition. (See the reviews of The Birth of  Neurosis.) Hence he can offer original and probing insights into the interplay of  pop culture, American families, and children’s emotional lives.

When the Media is the ParentHe received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School and attended Oxford University where he undertook a graduate program in the Department of Modern History. There he worked on a dissertation in medical and cultural history and on reading and writing fiction. He then completed his psychiatric residency at Yale University and his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital.  He then joined the faculty at the Harvard Medical School as an Instructor while writing the final drafts of his first book, The Birth of Neurosis, which grew out of  his Oxford dissertation. Positively reviewed in many prominent publications, this book displays his expertise as an historian and psychiatrist and his verve for storytelling.

Dual certified in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, he has been on the clinical faculty of the Oregon Health Sciences University and in private practice in Portland, Oregon for more than twenty years. During these years, he became immersed in endless hours of therapy with children and adolescents who reveal to him their inner lives.  Through this clinical work, he became aware of how deeply, certain media creations and the pop culture more generally, have entered into the fantasy world and daydreams of American children and slowly, subtly shaped them. His new book, When the Media Is the Parent, is a culmination of  his work with children, his scholarly study of works on the media and American cultural history, and his dedication to writing stories that reveal the humanity in us all.

  • More on the Slenderman stabbing

    More on the Slenderman murders. A thoughtful article about the power of fearful stories as old as the Sandman to scare kids and hold them in fear. Yet like so many of the problems facing kids in their encounters with the media, the ubiquity of the media itself is a major part of the problem, rendering my concerns far greater than what they would be if a bunch of kids were simply sitting around a campfire spinning scary yarns. Continue reading

  • Fictional characters can feed childhood anxiety

    One of numerous articles that appeared in the popular press following the stabbing by two girls of a third in Wisconsin, related to the fictional character Slenderman. This article relates a bit of history about how the character was invented and popularized on the website creepypasta. It seems the two girls who committed the stabbing of a friend may have actually believed that Slenderman was real and that they were going to be able to live with him, once they killed the third girl, who was a friend or acquaintance of theirs. Continue reading

  • Kids’ brains are being changed by media immersion

    A thought-provoking article, which is an excerpt of a book by Michael Harris, entitled The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection. The article leaves the reader sobered, thoughtful. Relying much on recent brain research, the article argues that the human brain of the child is literally being changed by its daily immersion in the Internet and media. Continue reading

  • Are kids today more self-centered than ever?

    A thought-provoking article that lays out some provocative ideas but leaves matters unresolved. The gist of the article is the movement of kids from generation to generation toward more self-centeredness. Or as one of my earlier articles puts it: "Self-Centered: the New Normal." Continue reading

  • A possibly skewed look at the pros and cons of digital ware for toddlers

    A short and somewhat strange article ostensibly about the pros and cons of raising toddlers with an abundance of digital machines at their finger tips. Continue reading

  • Education is the best protection

    A sobering article written by an educator in South Africa, a country like so many others permeated with easy access to the internet. The concerns she raises are multifold. Kids are gaining access to all kinds of images and material that is shocking, confusing and distressing them. Continue reading

  • Media presents impossible standards of beauty
    Media presents impossible standards of beauty

    A valuable article that relies on a number of worthwhile sources to makes its major point: Girls growing up with the media as their "super peer" find themselves facing dilemmas in terms of body image. The result is an unrealistic set of self-expectations and often a sense of their own inferiority. Continue reading