UCLA Study Reveals Media's Influence on What Kids Value Most: Fame

July 26, 2011
Audrey Stokes Associate Product Manager, Education
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, CA

Common Sense hears from parents and educators all the time who are wondering “what is media teaching my kids, anyway?” A new study out of UCLA offers one answer, and the news isn’t great.

Researchers at UCLA’s Children’s Digital Media Center Yalda T. Uhls, MA, MBA, and Patricia M. Greenfield, PhD looked at the most popular TV programming for kids 9 to twelve between 1967 and 2007 to look for changes in the values that the shows promote.

The findings? Community and benevolence are out. Fame is in.

This might not be surprising given the rise of reality TV where the stars are famous just for being famous. But it does highlight the importance of teachings young people how to evaluate information, engage in media creation and consumption responsibly, and maintain community in a culture where its definition is changing constantly.

The study can be found in the July issue of Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychological Research on Cyberspace. Read the article to dig a little deeper into this interesting study and tell us: do you think TV is shaping kids’ values or are shows just reflects culture changes over time?