Researcher Talks Media and Children

Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Ph.D.

Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Ph.D., associate professor, in the Amsterdam School of Communication at the University of Amsterdam, visited the Communication Department to talk about her research on children and media. Piotrowski, who is co-author of Plugged In: How Media Attract and Affect Youth, gave the lecture in the Comm Hub the day before her book was released.

Piotrowski who is director of the Center for research on Children, Adolescents, and the Media division of the International Communication Association, says the book was spurred by questions from parents. She and her fellow researchers wanted to give care-givers a resource. The book was designed with the intention to address key questions in the field and move research forward.

In her talk to faculty and students, she gave a sneak peak of the book. Piotrowski and other researchers found that children’s media use has increased, but also diversified. And at the same time, the media has changed as well, becoming faster, more complex, and more personalized. Piotrowski reported that children’s development predicts their media use, but it’s also reciprocal in that media use predicts their development.

Piotrowski says she and other researchers are still working to understand the digital media space, and so far, they have found that media effects are not that simple, and individual differences matter.

“All these questions are complex. There is no easy answer to these questions parents are calling about,” said Piotrowski.