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09/24/2003 Entry: "Children! Eeek!"

"While media phobia is not new, it is often misdirected and shortsighted, concludes USC sociologist Karen Sternheimer in her new book It’s Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture’s Influence on Children.

'"We fear pop culture because it’s the easiest thing for us to see,' Sternheimer said.

"For example, when the drag–racing movie 2 Fast 2 Furious was released in May, and teens subsequently were killed in drag–racing accidents, Sternheimer was not surprised that a connection was made.

"'There was a big outcry, but illegal street racing has been around for decades,' she said. 'It’s harder to look at what creates violence or what leads to irresponsible behavior.'

"'We are reluctant to ask questions that cause us to consider how well our major social institutions are really working. Blaming media often takes the place of doing much–needed social criticism,' she said.

"In her book, Sternheimer, a lecturer in the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, delves into the historical and societal trends of the past century and examines current social science research on the effects of media on children.

"She concludes that fear of social change lies at the heart of our media–bashing culture.

“Changes in media culture are easier to pinpoint than complex economic, social and political changes we have experienced over the past several decades,” Sternheimer said. “The fact is, for centuries, older generations have believed that the younger generation is out of control. And we have frequently pointed the finger at pop culture for creating trouble rather than looking in the mirror.”

*snip*

"'The bottom line is that parents need to be attentive and make a judgment based on each individual child. We get into trouble when we take content too literally and presume children, even young children, don’t understand the nuance and context.'

"Ironically, Sternheimer said, the news media themselves help individuals fear the media.

"'When News at 11 makes a connection between the Columbine killers and Goth music, they’re ignoring a lot of other factors, possibly a real look at these troubled kids," she said. "So it’s more about fascination than information. It’s what drives us and hits a visceral nerve. It’s not critical analysis but a sound bite.'"
USC News, September 24, 2003

Critical analysis about children and child rearing? Is she kidding? Come back to Terra, doc. The right to raise fucked up kids to be fucked up adults (IF they survive) is neck and neck with the right to bear arms for most of Ammurrika.

 

 

 

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