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Media Use and Effects in Childhood

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The children's media landscape has changed dramatically over the past few decades. The explosive growth of the Internet and digital media platforms has given rise to a new digital media culture. At the same time, media content itself has evolved dramatically. Today's media are more complex, more arousing, and more fast-paced that ever before (e.g., Koolstra, van Zanten, Lucassen, & Ishaak, 2004). This has led researchers, health practitioners, and public policy makers to ask how these changes may be influencing children's development. And while these questions are critical, it is also important to recognize that the relationship between media and child development is not unidirectional, but rather is bidirectional. As a result, not only should we ask how children's media use influences their development, but also how children's development may influence their media use. To that end, this chapter presents both sides of this discussion, paying explicit attention to several key theories that have been used to explain the reciprocal relationship between child development and media.
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