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.

  • 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

  • Makers of e-cigarettes getting around the law
    Makers of e-cigarettes getting around the law

    A troubling if thought-provoking article about how companies making e-cigarettes seem to be working to get around federal legislation banning advertising of cigarettes to minors. At issue here is the making and marketing of candy-flavored cigarettes, a relatively new product that, according to many concerned parties, can play a crucial role in hooking kids on nicotine from a very early age. Continue reading

  • Alcohol is too often shown in a humorous light
    Alcohol is too often shown in a humorous light

    A terse and simple article that makes the point well about how much of a negative effect mainstream media immersion has on kids in terms of alcohol consumption. Citing many troubling statistics including the massive amount of money spent annually by alcohol-selling companies on advertising, the fact that about 50% of the presentations of alcohol consumption in mainstream media show it in a humorous light, and only about 23% show a downside, the article makes some very well-known points about the causative connection of media imagery to kids being influenced to drink. Continue reading

  • It’s not just the time, it’s the content

    Arguably a ground breaking article regarding the causal nature of the media on childhood obesity. Not only does this article out of Boston Children's Hospital make the case for such a connection via hard data. It also makes another important point: This issue may not just be the amount of screen time a child experiences but the content of the screen time. Continue reading

  • Media can provide a positive influence, if there is a profit in it

    An interesting study that follows the same theme described in my last article and set of tweets: The media can be used for good, if the message itself is positive. Previously I wrote about the FDA using a marketing barrage to make the point that perhaps kids can be influence via commercials to turn away from smoking cigarettes. This article suggests a similar tactic in the national battle against childhood obesity. Continue reading