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Children, Media, and Health

East Baltimore
3rd term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
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, the Internet, mobile media, and social media 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? In what ways are media beneficial to youth? In this course we will explore these questions and more. We will review several theoretical perspectives describing links between children/adolescent health and the media, as well as look at the methods used to examine these issues.

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

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 which types of media children use during each.
  2. Describe the social and contextual influences on children’s and adolescents’ media use.
  3. Explain the impact of media exposure across a range of health-related behaviors and outcomes, including sexuality, body weight, aggression, mental health, 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 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: