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.

  • 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

  • FDA tries fighting fire with fire

    A longish article of an interview of and FDA official about a new campaign being launched by the FDA to dissuade kids from smoking. Like many behaviors glamorized or encouraged by the media, such drinking alcohol, taking drugs, having sex indiscriminately, or overeating, cigarette smoking remains a serious problem for America's youth. Despite massive government efforts via fining the tobacco industry, banning TV ads of cigarette products, etc, the problem is not going away. Continue reading

  • TV for kids: is it all bad?

    A terse article that tries to balance the pros and cons of TV watching for kids. It begins with a clear statement that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against kids watching TV before the age of 2 and that parents tend to use the TV as a babysitter much too often. Continue reading

  • Kids learn a lot from the media, not all of it good

    A brief article along with a clever but telling video from Common Sense Media meant to dramatize a serious concern about how kids absorb words and expressions not just from parents and older siblings and peers, in a manner that is quite common, but also from the media. This fits nicely into my idea about how the media has become the parent. Continue reading

  • Media devices may be eliminating human empathy

    A preposterous article on one level, yet sadly all too true. About how kids are spending so much time on smartphones and other electronic devices and so are not developing basic social skills. Continue reading

  • Infants need to be active, not staring at screens
    Infants need to be active, not staring at screens

    A piece at once comical and rather sad. It's about a product developed by Fisher Price, which allows parents essentially to strap their infants and toddlers in front of a screen and ignore them. Continue reading

  • Excessive screen time linked to anxiety and depression

    An arresting article about how a study published by Public Health England concludes that excessive screen time is linked to anxiety and depression and limits children's opportunities for social interaction and physical activity. Continue reading