Impact of media on children and adolescents: a 10-year review of the research

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;40(4):392-401. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200104000-00007.


Objective: To review the research literature published within the past 10 years regarding the impact of media on children and adolescents.

Method: Media categories researched with computer technology included television and movies, rock music and music videos, advertising, video games, and computers and the Internet.

Results: Research prior to 1990 documented that children learn behaviors and have their value systems shaped by media. Media research since has focused on content and viewing patterns.

Conclusions: The primary effects of media exposure are increased violent and aggressive behavior, increased high-risk behaviors, including alcohol and tobacco use, and accelerated onset of sexual activity. The newer forms of media have not been adequately studied, but concern is warranted through the logical extension of earlier research on other media forms and the amount of time the average child spends with increasingly sophisticated media.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Advertising
  • Aggression
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Violence*