Girls outnumbered 3 to 1 in family films

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Girls outnumbered 3 to 1 in family films

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The world has changed quite a bit; girls have come a long way, but sometimes that's not really reflected in the media, unfortunately. Kids today spend a lot of time watching television, and girls in particular, spend a lot of time watching television - up to 4½ hours a day is the national average, so what they are watching is extremely important. Recent research found that girls are outnumbered 3 to 1 in family films today. That is the same number as it was in 1946. The world has changed, but the media is still the same, the message is still the same. On top of it, think about what there is, there is "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," there are about a billion "Real Housewives" reality television shows, there is the "Bachelor," all these different types of shows that show that women are competitors, they show catty behavior. They show all these different kinds of visions of being a woman that create social norms, and kids end up being susceptible to then developing gender stereotypes. It ends up affecting children, and it ends up then also spreading out into different types of behavior possibly, like cyber-bullying, relational aggression, all sorts of things. The types of messages that we see in the media really make a difference in shaping the social norms and shaping gender stereotypes.

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Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD

Regional Director, Common Sense Media

Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD, is the Regional Director of Common Sense Media, the leading non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Yalda's own research with the Children's Digital Media at UCLA was written about in the New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more. As an expert on media’s effects on children, Yalda has been featured on the BBC News, KPCC, the LA Times and many other news outlets. Her awards include UCLA's Psychology in Action Award for excellence in communicating psychological research to audiences beyond academia as well as honorable mention for the National Science Foundation's GSRF. Yalda's former career as a Senior VP at MGM, in film production, informs her perspective that media content has great power to socialize children, to inspire and teach as well as to be used inappropriately. In her talks, she brings her deep knowledge of the latest research about how children ages eight to 18 use media, as well as a realistic understanding of how digital natives use media from her experiences with her two children, ages 10 and 13.  Her newest book, Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age will be published in Fall 2015. 

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