From films about the commercialization of childhood and the subtle, yet widespread, effects of pornography, pop-cultural misogyny and sexism, to titles that deal with the devastating effects of rapacious consumerism and the wars for oil that it drives, we offer resources designed to help spark discussion about some of the most pressing, and complicated, issues of our time, in one of the last independent spheres left in the society: the classroom. Our aim is to inspire students to think critically and in new ways about the hyper-mediated world around them.
- Media Education Foundation
- Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood
With virtually no government or public outcry, the multi-billion dollar youth marketing industry has been able to use the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world. American kids now influence an estimated $700 billion in annual spending, targeted virtually from birth with a relentless bombardment of sophisticated commercial appeals designed to sell everything from Hollywood merchandise and junk foods to iPods, cell phones, the family car and vacations. The result is that childhood itself has been commercialized. Drawing on the insights of experts, industry insiders, and children themselves, Consuming Kids traces the evolution and impact of this disturbing and unprecedented phenomenon, exposing the youth marketing industry's controversial tactics and exploring the effect of hyper-consumerism on the actual lived experience of children.
- Sext Up KIDS: How Children are Becoming Hypersexualized
Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Maureen Palmer explores what this radical transformation of the culture means for young people, parents, and our very notions of childhood. Palmer interviews researchers who have been tracking how the accelerating pressure to be sexy -- and sexual -- is changing kids' behavior and undermining their health. She sits down with parents and educators struggling to help kids navigate puberty in a hypermediated cultural environment that no longer seems to recognize or respect the developmental needs of children. And she talks to teens and pre-teens who share eerily casual insights into the routine role sex plays in their lives. The result is as stunning as it is informative – a powerful educational resource that’s guaranteed to challenge and enlighten students in equal measure.
- The Gloucester 18: The Realities of Teen Pregnancy
In 2008, eighteen high school girls from Gloucester, Massachusetts were accused of making a pact to become pregnant. The mainstream media perpetuated and sensationalized the story, with reporters flying in from as far away as Australia, the UK, and Brazil. The Gloucester 18 looks behind all the headlines and hype to tell the real stories of these girls, and in the process puts a human face on a startling statistic: that the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world.