At CcaM, our work focuses on the study of entertainment media - namely, how media entertainment is selected and the conditions that explain sustained use and effects. This research line aims to understand how, when, and why today’s entertainment media may meet the unique entertainment needs of young people alongside the outcomes of this use.
In recent years, scholarship in this area has investigated, for example: (1) how parents influence children’s entertainment experience, (2) how individual differences influece how children experience entertainment media content, (3) the motivations behind entertainment media use, and (4) how virtual reality offers a qualitatively different gaming experience for young people. Along with these questions, this area has also asked about the opportunities and consequences of entertainment media use. This has included outcomes such as: (1) online and offline behaviors (unhealthy food behaviors, sexual behavior and objectification, victimization, online-self presentation, aggressive behavior, prosocial behavior), (2) social-emotional development (e.g., empathy, wellness, self-esteem, ADHD) and (3) cognitive development (e.g., crystallized intelligence, fluid intelligence). A comprehensive review of these and related fields can be found in the book Plugged In: How Media Attract and Affect Youth – published (open access) by Patti Valkenburg and Jessica Taylor Piotrowski in Spring 2017.
In the coming years, this area of study will include an increasing focus on the effects digital entertainment space by asking – for example – how educational app design may influence learning effects, how social media may influence social-emotional development such as self-esteem, and the (numerous) opportunities of virtual reality across a range of entertainment domains. All CcaM scholars contribute to this area of scholarship.