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Children, Media, and Health

East Baltimore
3rd term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  9:00 - 10:20am
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Michelle Kaufman

What are the impacts of childhood exposure to media? How does exposure to television, movies, magazines, and the Internet shape young people’s gender, ethnic, or sexual identity? Does engaging with violent programming contribute to aggression in children? How does media exposure impact children’s food preferences, tobacco and alcohol use, or risk-taking behavior? Can media use be beneficial to youth? In this course we will explore these and other questions, review several theoretical perspectives describing links between children’s health and the media, and gain exposure to the methods used to examine these issues.

Reviews children’s media use, with a particular focus on television, print, and digital media. Describes the role of media in shaping a variety of health-related behaviors and outcomes relevant to childhood and adolescence. Acquaints students with variety of social and behavioral perspectives on child development. Examines how media content frame critical issues related to child and adolescent health. Introduces policy and advocacy initiatives addressing the form and content of children’s media.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the developmental stages of childhood from infancy to adolescence, and identify what types of media children use during each.
  2. Describe the social and contextual influences influencing children’s media use.
  3. Explain the impact of media exposure across a range of health-related behaviors and outcomes, including sexuality, body weight, aggression, and substance use.
  4. Critically analyze the content of media and recognize its role in framing key issues in child and adolescent health.
  5. Identify policy-oriented measures to regulate the media and its impact on child and adolescent health.
  6. Identify potential benefits of early exposure to media.
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 20% Participation
  • 20% Final Paper
  • 20% media autobiography
  • 40% media analysis paper

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required for undergraduates only.

For consent, contact: