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ENTCHILD Report Summary

Project ID: 249488
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Netherlands

Final Report Summary - ENTCHILD (The Entertainization of Childhood: An Etiology of Risks and Opportunities)

The goal of the ERC-project was to investigate—in a four-year longitudinal study— the effects of media use on the development of aggression and ADHD-like behaviors. The first two years of the project was spent on creating a satisfactory theoretical model to help explain which children are particularly susceptible to the effects of media use and why. This model, The Differential Susceptibility to Media Effects Model, was published as a leading article in the Journal of Communication in 2013. In 2016, it was recognised as a highly cited paper in Web of Science. In the project, the research group developed some novel methods to validly measure children’s and teens' media use, and conducted a meta-analysis to identify the shortcomings in existing research on the effects of media on ADHD-related behaviours. The overall conclusions of our project is that the effects of media use in general, and the use of violent media on children’s aggression and ADHD-related behaviours are small. However, some children may be more susceptible to negative effects of media violence, in particular boys, children who are raised in aggressive families, and who are part of a peer group in which violence is common. Finally, the potential negative effects of media may be counteracted by a certain type of media-specific parenting (i.e., autonomy supportive parenting), in which clear and consistent rules are set, and in which the child’s or teen’s perspective is taken into account.

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