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Dr. Rose Anne Dyson

E-mail: rdyson@oise.utoronto.ca or

for Discussion Roundtables 41, 42, and 43

Table of Contents

GLOBALIZATION, MEDIA AND MERGERS: What is the Impact on Youth and Education?

Over the past 50 years, thousands of conducted studies - public inquiries among them - have demonstrated how mass media are instrumental in the socialization of youth. These studies have focussed on numerous themes, among them sexual exploitation and graphic depictions of violent imagery. More recently, the focus has shifted to the commercial exploitation of children due to sedentary lifestyles and diets heavy in junk foods leading to health problems such as obesity, heart disease and juvenile diabetes. Marketing is now an intense and pervasive presence in children's lives with connections between movies and products that surface both in the home and in the school. Indeed, it is often argued that television and other converging forms of communications technologies are the most powerful educators the world has ever known.

Many of these studies demonstrate that media coalesce into a seamless, pervasive and increasingly centralized, homogenized and globalized cultural environment that is drifting out of democratic reach. Among these trends, is the growing reliance on violence in popular culture as a cheap commercial ingredient that sells well in a global economy and translates easily into any language. Children, adolescents and young adults are the target audience for most of these cultural commodities. Youth video game players are now encouraged to get in touch with their "gun-toting, cold-blooded murdering side".

Evidence accumulates that our collective, immune system to violence is breaking down, yet strategies for change remain hamstrung by quaint and dated interpretations of freedom of expression. While it is important that the basic integrity of the free press be protected, short sighted extension of the principle to protect the profit driven agendas of media conglomerates who now have a firm grip on the value systems of the next generation must be challenged. Such a mind set is incompatible with long term cultural and natural environmental sustainability.

Strategies are required at all levels of government and in all sectors of society if a new age of global co-operation with a vision for caring for all forms of life on earth is to be achieved. Educational initiatives such as media literacy courses in schools continue to be needed but these must go beyond mere definition of problems. They should focus on new challenges posed in an era of rapid communications technologies and converging content. They must also be made available to adults as well as children in order that those in the best position to provide leadership for meaningful change in society can better understand the links between our new information based global economy and the commercial exploitation of youth. Only when we begin to recognize the futility of short term band-aid measures and endless inquires that end up collecting dust in the offices of academics, will we begin to make progress toward sound, integrated public policy on health, education, community safety, national security, environmental sustainability and a new age civilization.

References (Books Only)
Dyson Rose A. (2000) MIND ABUSE Media Violence In An Information Age. Black Rose Books, Montreal, New York, London.
Dyson Rose A. (2001) "North America's Cult of Sex and Violence" in MEDIA, SEX, VIOLENCE, and DRUGS in the Global Village. Eds. Yahya R. Kamalipour and Kuldip R. Rampal. Rowman and Littlefield. Boulder, New York and Oxford.
Dyson Rose A. (2003) " Missing Discourse in the War on Terrorism" in TERRORISM, GLOBALIZATION and MASS COMMUNICATION. Marquette Books, Spokane, Washington.

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