Mass Media and the Socialization of Adolescents Since World War II
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the massive social and economic changes that emerged post-World War II, with particular emphasis on the mass media's influence on youth. The baby boom generation was socialized in the context of unprecedented growth in household income and increasing exposure to advertising on television. At the same time, researchers were uncovering unhealthy effects of the media that could adversely affect youth development, including such mechanisms as modeling, disinhibition, and normalization of antisocial behavior. Advertising may have further encouraged impulsive behavior that helped to produce such outcomes as today's obesity epidemic. Theories of media influence can help to inform policies that promote both helpful and harmful influences. But the increasing ability of youth to express themselves in the media raises important questions about how best to educate youth and parents to the potential adverse effects that the new media landscape poses.
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