Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reunions Coverage: The Impact of Popular Culture on Young Children

Glee, Gossip Girl, House — these all-too-familiar names were voiced to be yet another point of concern for alumni (and parents) at an alumni-faculty forum discussing the impact of popular culture on young children on Saturday morning.

Tina Treadwell ’80, a casting director for the Disney Channel, pointed out that technology was an important part in pop culture, commenting that she often “feels like an immigrant in the world of technology.”

Joanna Gaines ’05 echoed Treadwell’s ideas, and wondered whether “there was a way to use technology to change children’s behavior into a constructive one.”

An educational film-maker, Michael Dieffenbach ’70 shared his experiences of creating educational films and emphasized the role that authority figures—managers in workplaces and parents at home—play in shaping the children’s personality.

Some expressed a very positive view of the media – Robin Epstein ’95 advocated sitcoms as a starting point for discussions on social issues. “Sitcoms are the most effective art form to bring issues into our homes,” she said.

Others, such as David Hill ’00, were more skeptical of the popular culture. He cited his experiences as a principal to show how the influence of rap artists could be a barrier to education.

The morning came to a close as the panel and the audience discussed effects of shows such as Gossip Girl and easily accessible high-rated adult shows on teenagers.

by Ha-Kyung Kwon