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About the Site

The PBS Parents Guide to Children & Media is a resource for answering parents' questions about kids, media and the creative possibilities that exist between them. It's a place that invites you to bring both your curiosity and concern about what young people are seeing and hearing on TV, in movies, video games and on the Internet.

This site also concerns media literacy. To be media literate means to:

  • Watch closely and think critically,
  • Question sources of information, clarifying how we know what we know;
  • Resist superficial advertisements and programs with stereotypes that push a packaged view of the world and the people in it; and
  • Use media as creative tools for self-expression rather than mere opportunities to consume what others, like large media companies, have produced.

Media literacy also considers the power that electronic media have to shape both society and ourselves in profound ways. It is precisely because TV, radio, movies and the Internet are powerful and ever-present that they can mold our attitudes and influence our beliefs.

As much as you would like to keep your children away from aggressive advertisements, unsavory images, dim-witted programming and misleading news reports, you can't — not entirely, at least. The best you can do is help them become media literate by thinking on their own, staying informed and, ultimately, becoming the tellers of their own stories.

About Shelley Pasnik, Producer of the PBS Parents Guide to Children and Media

Shelley Pasnik

Shelley Pasnik is the Director of EDC’s Center for Children and Technology in New York. Committed to discovering ways media can support children's healthy development, she designs and implements research projects that investigate how technology can be used to support teaching and learning.

She has spent close to 20 years talking to parents, child and consumer advocates, business leaders, health experts, superintendents, scholars, government officials, and, as often as possible, children about the roles that media can and do play in young people's lives. She has collaborated with the US Department of Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Intel Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History, WGBH, Carnegie Hall, Thirteen/WNET, Global Kids, and IBM, among others..

You can contact Shelley Pasnik at

About Media Milestones

How children use media — TV, computers, video games and movies — has a lot to do with who they are. Although no two kids are exactly alike, children generally go through the same stages of development. Knowing what these stages are can help you encourage your child to use media in new and creative ways. This age-specific guide is designed to help you understand how to use media to encourage your child's creative, social, physical and intellectual development.

Just as your child grows — intellectually, emotionally and physically — so, too, does her ability to use media. This is true whether your child is 5 and starting to grasp that a story has a beginning, middle and end, or is 15 and mastering how to publish original stories on the Web.

Of course, your child's healthy development involves much more than learning how to use media. Your child has many needs, including your attention, your love, good food, time outside, captivating books and a television that has been turned off and left behind.

This section of The PBS Parents Guide to Children & Media draws upon resources created by well-respected organizations that study and care about kids: the National Network for Child Care, the Gisell Institute of Human Development, The Magic House in St. Louis and Bank Street College of Education.

About the Illustrations

Illustrations within the Children and Media section were created by Mary Veronica Sweeney.

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