ERIC Number: ED433082
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Jul
The Role of the Mass Media in Parenting Education.
Simpson, A. Rae
Although there has been an explosion of information and advice about child rearing in the mass media, little attention has been given to the nature or extent of the media's impact on parents or to ways in which media could be used more effectively. Based on an analysis of books, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, film, videotapes, software, and the Internet, and interviews with over 200 key professionals in fields such as communication research, parent education, journalism, and public relations, this report identifies strengths and weaknesses in media coverage of parenting. The report first reviews historical and social forces that have produced the expanded media interest in parenting. Strengths in the media's role are then identified, including the following: (1) parenting is a staple topic in many print media; (2) parenting initiatives within electronic media are expanding; (3) parental demand for media information is substantial and increasing; and (4) media can have a significant impact. Identified weaknesses are then listed, including the following: (1) easily accessible sources of information for media on parenting are scarce and scattered; (2) media parenting advice is often confusing and conflicting; (3) parents of adolescents receive less information and support from media than parents of younger children; and (4) entertainment television has been overlooked as an influence on parenting and as a vehicle for supporting and informing parents. The report recommends that the knowledge base about parenting be strengthened by holding consensus-building conferences and that a comprehensive, integrated communications strategy be implemented to disseminate the emerging consensus about parenting in ongoing and targeted ways. Contains approximately 400 references. (KB)
Descriptors: Access to Information, Child Caregivers, Child Rearing, Computer Software, Information Dissemination, Information Industry, Information Needs, Information Sources, Internet, Mass Media Effects, Mass Media Role, Mass Media Use, Nonprint Media, Parent Education, Popular Culture, Television Research
Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave., Suite 334, Boston, MA 02115; Tel: 617-432-1038; Fax: 617-731-8184; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. School of Public Health.
Note: A publication of the Center for Health Communication.