NEW YORK, NY —As some of the nation’s top media executives gather tonight and tomorrow at the inaugural “Beyond Primetime” conference to discuss kids and the media, three of America’s leading policymakers have responded with statements demonstrating bi-partisan support for work to improve the media environment for kids and families.
“Like never before, our children are growing up immersed in interactive, digital and wireless media that is constantly changing,” said U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY). “It’s no wonder that many parents are struggling to keep up. We need to do everything we can to keep providing parents and policymakers with better, more current facts about the impact of this new media dominating our children’s lives.”
“America is a media-rich society,” said U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT). “But despite the flood of information, we still lack critical knowledge about how the vast media world affects kids. As policymakers—and as parents—we have a responsibility to examine the influence of media on our children, and to work to make the media world a healthier place for kids.”
“Electronic media is changing rapidly, making it hard for parents and teachers to keep up,” said U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). “Protecting our nation's children and ensuring that parents have the most accurate and complete information on the effects of media on their children should remain a top priority.”
These policymakers’ concerns about the media’s impact on kids would appear to be well justified: a new national poll of parents commissioned by Common Sense Media has found that American parents cite overuse of the media by their kids as their leading health concern.
Nearly 6 out of 10 parents report that they are concerned their kids’ will overuse media – that’s more than they are concerned about their kids smoking or drinking.
“Because kids access media intimately, directly, and often without adult supervision, the images and messages they receive profoundly shape their physical, mental and social development,” said Common Sense Media CEO James P. Steyer. “Our national poll demonstrates that parents clearly worry about their media’s influence on their kids, but they also need help and information on how to keep their kids healthy in a 24/7 media world.”
The release of the poll comes in advance of a major conference Common Sense Media is presenting with the Aspen Institute in New York, “Beyond Primetime: Will Media Help Grow Healthier Kids? Stay Tuned.” The conference is scheduled to begin Monday evening, February 5 and will run all day Tuesday, February 6. CEOs from some of America’s leading media companies will participate.
Clinton, Lieberman and Brownback have all been vocal advocates of legislation aimed to increase understanding of the relationship between kids and the media. All three Senators sponsored the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) act, which would provide significant funding for media effects research. The bill passed the Senate in September 2006, and is waiting for a vote in the House.
“What we’re seeing, for the first time ever, is a real collaboration between the media industry, national policymakers, and parents working to make the media environment better for kids,” Steyer said. “It’s time for an honest, open discussion of these issues that are profoundly affecting kids and families—and for solutions.”
For press credentials, please contact Deborah Murphy at Deborah.Murphy@aspeninstitute.org.