- According to media researchers, adolescents frequently look to celebrity role models for guidance on fashion, attitudes and behavior.
- Kids who see a lot of drugs and sex on-screen tend to drink, smoke and become sexually active sooner in life.
- Consuming media in a social environment can mitigate its negative effects. Young people can gain valuable insights by watching or discussing troubling stories with friends or family.
Video games, movies and television, Facebook and Twitter—for a couch-potato child, digital culture is rarely more than a fingertip away. Young Americans spend on average about seven and a half hours a day with digital media. In fact, they often multitask, using many devices simultaneously to pack in some 10 hours and 45 minutes’ worth of content every day, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report. With kids devoting more free time to media than many adults spend at their full-time jobs, you would not be alone in wondering what they are taking away from the experience.
Of course, hand-wringing over how TV and the Internet are warping young brains is hardly new. Even for kids bedazzled by tweets and text messages, video—whether on a smartphone, at a movie theater or on an actual TV—still dominates the digital landscape. Indeed, recent studies show that children and teenagers develop beliefs directly influenced by the movie characters and TV stars they observe.
This article was originally published with the title Pop Star Psychology.