Violence, Inc.

Violence is as American as apple pie. Likewise, semiautomatic rifles and blood-curdling movies serve as emblematic artifacts in our culture of violence. Certainly a central reason for Congress not passing legislation this spring to regulate either the gun or the media industry stems from the amazing power of American corporations to influence the writing of laws, what with money buying influence. But another way of viewing the problem of daily gun deaths in America seeming so acceptable is the centrality that violence plays in the American identity. We tend to see violence as a solution to problems. In fact many of our greatest heroes wield guns with epic precision. Read the rest at Psychology Today. Continue reading

Boredom, Thrill Kill, and the Media, part 2

There is nothing to do, no one to see, nothing interesting to watch or in which to be engaged. To escape this negative emotion, many go to the mall, attend concerts, or tune into media creations like pop music or comedy or action films to give them some sort of charge, be it in the form of humor, or intrigue or action, or simply sound, all in an effort to ward off the boredom. Read the rest at Psychology Today. Continue reading

Boredom, Thrill Kill and the Media

When I first began to read online about the murder of Chris Lane in Oklahoma, I stumbled swiftly into a bit of Facebook footage: The alleged murderers was glaring into a camera brandishing a rifle. As he spouted profanities, he glibly flashed what I assumed were gang signs. At once I was reminded of both the real-life slayings of gangsta rap stars by gang members and videos posted online by jihadists around the world, likewise brandishing weapons and shouting death to the Infidel, namely us. Who did the boy think he was emulating? Read the rest at Psychology Today. Continue reading

The American Girl’s Dilemma: Media and Obesity

Young American females grow up in a kind of cultural vice. In article after scholarly article, we confront an ever-growing body of documentation about how widespread childhood obesity has become and how immersion in the media, which seems to grow more extensive from year to year, is playing a crucial role in this trend. Concurrently, another body of research accruing since the 1990s has shown that young females as they enter puberty are more and more prone to becoming sexually active secondary to their simply watching mainstream movies and TV. Read the rest at The Chicago Moms. Continue reading

Streetwalkers in Our Living Rooms

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I expend vast spans of time immersed in game-playing and conversation with troubled children and their parents. A not uncommon dialogue involves an agitated teen, more often a boy, embarrassed, even in tears, caught red-handed by his parents in porn sites. Then there are the few girls who have snapped pics of their naked bodies and sent them wistfully to boys, only to have these raunchy guys send the photos viral. Read the rest at Psychology Today. Continue reading

Violent Cartoons and Aggressive Preschoolers

With the publication in Pediatrics of the second of two articles by a research group at the University of Washington, we gain a startling picture of how violent cartoons and more pro-social cartoons affect very young children. In their first article, the focus was on sleep problems, in the second, the children’s behavior. Read the rest at Continue reading

Cartoon Violence and Children’s Sleep

In a flurry of articles published in the LA TimesUSA Today and elsewhere, journalists report a few months ago, we learned of a a surprising finding described in a recent article in the scholarly journal Pediatrics. Certain popular cartoons, like “Bugs Bunny,”  “Sponge Bob,” and “Scooby Doo,” seem to have a negative effect on children age 3 to 5. The same study described a positive effect of other shows like “Dora the Explorer,” “Curious George,” and “Sesame Street.” Though the first group of shows was not actually named in the scholarly article, the lead researcher got specific in a follow-up interview published in the Huffington Post. Read the rest at Psychology Today. Continue reading

Teen Love Meets the Internet

In her recent article in the New York Times, Sherry Turkle suggests that social media connection is displacing true communication, and she see this as a great loss. Text messaging, Facebooking and emailing work to elbow aside usual human communications, which she describes as messy and emotionally demanding but rich and potentially rewarding. She asks why we humans are attracted to these media-driven forms of connection. She gives a provisional answer: a so-called Goldilocks effect. Read the rest at Psychology Today. Continue reading

The Crucial Nature of Media Literacy

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen the media permeate deeply into children’s lives. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report sets the amount of media exposure for an average American child at eight hours per day, more time than with family or in school. Read the rest at Psychology Today. Continue reading

Dr. Drinka quoted in article on child obesity

This excellent article by Hope Gillette on the epidemic of childhood obesity features several quotes by Dr. Drinka concerning the media’s influence on children and their dietary habits. Read Childhood Obesity: A Preventable Epidemic Gone Too Far on Continue reading