Youth and digital media: a policy research agenda

J Adolesc Health. 2000 Aug;27(2 Suppl):61-8. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(00)00130-0.


At a time when researchers are still sorting out the complex relationship between adolescents and the mass media, the entire nature of the media system is undergoing dramatic change. The explosive growth of the Internet is ushering in a new digital media culture. Youth are embracing the new technologies much more rapidly than adults. In addition, because of their increased spending power, youth have become a valuable target market for advertisers. These trends have spurred the proliferation of Web sites and other forms of new-media content specifically designed for teens and children. The burgeoning digital marketplace has spawned a new generation of market research companies, and market research on children and youth is outpacing academic research on youth and the newer media. The emergence of this new media culture holds both promise and peril for youth. Whether the positive or negative vision of the digital future prevails will be determined, in large part, by decisions being made now and in the next few years in the halls of government and in corporate boardrooms. Research has contributed to the resolutions of several recent legislative and policy decisions in areas including television violence and the V-chip, children's educational television programming, and privacy and marketing to children on the Web. Future research needs to be designed with the public policy agenda in mind. The academic community has much to contribute to the debates over new developments in the digital age.

Publication types

  • Congress
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Commerce
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Mass Media / standards*
  • Mass Media / trends
  • Policy Making
  • Research / organization & administration*
  • Telecommunications
  • United States
  • Violence