Children and Media

Exposure to educational television has been shown to have positive effects on the social, intellectual, and educational development of children. Is it possible to find truly educational content on broadcast television? Articles below deal with 1) television broadcasters' obligation to provide educational programming for children, 2) efforts to shield children from indecenct programming, 3) advertising aimed at children and 4) children and violence.

New Mexico sees TV tech as one fix to K-12 internet divide

Internet problems continue to slow down many students in the US state of New Mexico, but a pilot project using TV signals to transmit computer files may help. On November 18, state public education officials distributed devices to eight families in the city of Taos (NM) that allow schools to send them digital files via television. The boxes the size of a deck of cards allow digital television receivers to connect with computers using technology called datacasting.

Bridging the digital divide: Investing where it counts

In 2020, we saw the consequences of the digital divide: the have and the have nots of broadband. Many students—particularly children and those residing in predominantly rural areas—fell unacceptably behind. 2021 is proving to be no different, and in some communities, it is even more dire, as many schools offer fewer online options for families. Thankfully, there are a few ways we can ensure that students are not left behind:

Instagram’s Effects on Children Are Being Investigated by Coalition of States

A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general announced it is investigating how Instagram attracts and affects young people, amping up the pressure on parent company Meta Platforms over potential harms to its users.

Kudos on Broadband but a Long Way to Go on Communications

Passage of the Infrastructure legislation on November 5 was truly historic—surely the biggest boost ever to bringing high-speed broadband to every American household. While we get about the job of building broadband, we need to take up other communications issues that have been of even longer gestation and which have just as much, maybe more, urgency for our country. High on my list is media reform.

Laptops alone can’t bridge the digital divide

What is missing in the focus on getting laptops in the hands of children is the social component of learning—a component all too often taken for granted or even disparaged. As a culture, the United States has long loved the heroic idea of children teaching themselves. Movies and stories constantly retell this narrative of scrappy young people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. These myths are especially common regarding technical knowledge.

Sen Blumenthal Urges Snap to Release Internal Data on the Company's Effect on Children and Teens

Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote a letter to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel urging him to release internal data pertaining to the company's effect on children and teens. Blumenthal requested the following by November 24, 2021:

What Illinois students will learn in media literacy class

In the summer of 2021, Illinois became the first state to require one unit of media literacy for all high school students. Media literacy can help young people critically examine the information they consume.

Schools and libraries request 12.9 million devices via the Emergency Connectivity Fund

A review of applications for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) demonstrates the urgent need for laptop computers and internet access for millions of K-12 students and library patrons. Schools and libraries have requested support for 12.9 million devices via the ECF. There were two ECF filing windows in 2021. 9.4 million laptop computers were requested along with another 1.7 million tablet computers. Connected learning devices represented two-thirds of the $6.3 billion in support that was requested, and 17 percent of the funds were requested for mobile broadband.

Sens Blumenthal and Blackburn Announce Probe Into Facebook Coverup of its Platforms' Negative Impact on Teens and Children

Sens Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, announced that their subcommittee would take additional steps to look into Facebook’s knowledge of its platforms’ negative impact on teenagers and young users. “It is clear that Facebook is incapable of holding itself accountable," the senators stated.