“This is America, where everyone has the right to life, love and the pursuit of fame.”
— Ryan Seacrest, American Idol, 2010
In the new millennium, people face messages highlighting the significance of fame everywhere they look. Not only in reality television shows such as “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and “American Idol”, but also in popular fictional TV shows, even those targeted to children. After watching some of these shows with my then 9-year-old daughter, I grumbled about the drastic change in “values.” Worried that I was becoming one of those predictable adults who lament that things were much better in the past, I decided to test my hypothesis.
This study, co-authored with Dr. Patricia Greenfield at the UCLA campus of the Children’s Digital Media Center@LA, was published in Cyberpsychology last summer. We found that in 2007, fame was the number one value communicated to preteens on popular TV. In every other year, fame ranked towards the bottom of a list of 16 values, coming in at number 15 or 16. Interestingly enough, community feeling (to be part of a group) ranked number 11 in 2007, while in every other year it came in at number one or number two.
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