LIBR 541 (3) New Media for Children and Young Adults [LIBR 559B prior to Summer 2016]


MAS students: Completion of the MAS Core courses, plus permission of the instructor.

MLIS and Dual students: Some electives can be taken in conjunction with the MLIS Core courses; consult with the MLIS Program Chair for recommendations.

GOAL: This course will survey the emerging media forms and formats which affect the lives of many young people.  “New Media” in this course is broadly defined to encompass a wide array of artifacts and technologies which flavor modern childhood, including but not limited to:  movies, games, websites, virtual worlds, toys and television programs.  The goal is to engage critically with these media forms, examining how children incorporate them (or don’t) in their daily lives, and how adults shape and reshape notions of child culture and play.  In the process, we will grapple with diverse conceptions of both media and children, and confront issues that sometimes lie below the surface of media creation and use, such as power and control, privacy, safety, gender bias, cultural stereotypes, authority and violence.

An interdisciplinary approach to this topic is essential.  Students from diverse disciplines are encouraged to participate.  An important component of this class will be the evaluation, development and presentation of new media for children.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the historical, cultural, and technological context of youth media
  • Identify the developmental attributes of youth as they relate to media design, selection, and use
  • Identify and discuss the effects of media on youth culture and behavior
  • Evaluate diverse technologies and media forms designed for and/or adopted by youth
  • Contribute to debates on the social issues surrounding youth media, including fair use, safety, privacy, violence, and demographic inequity
  • Design a  youth media artifact, program, or service
  • Identify and discuss future trends in new media for youth.


  • Changing conceptions of media and youth
  • Commercialization and commoditization of play
  • Participatory media: Texting, tagging, tweeting
  • Children and youth as media creators
  • Digital libraries and digital storytelling
  • Games and gaming culture
  • Gender/ cultural images and stereotypes
  • Virtual worlds & Social networks
  • Social, ethical, and developmental issues surrounding media creation and use
  • Interaction design and media development
  • “Digital divide” and demographic inequity
  • Cross-cultural and global perceptions of media and childhood
  • Emerging and future trends in media design and use
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