- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 12, 2001

Books

• "See No Evil: A Guide to Protecting Our Children From Media Violence," by Madeline Levine, Jossey-Bass, 1998. The author explains how children "see" the media and how television figures into the American culture. It offers guidance to parents to distinguish between what is merely distasteful and what is truly harmful to children and teens.

• "Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It," by Jane M. Healy, Touchstone Books, 1999. Ms. Healy outlines the escalating crisis in education and examines the effect of television, video games and other components of popular culture on the ability of children to concentrate, absorb and analyze information.

• "Mommy, I'm Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them," by Joanne Cantor, Harvest Books, 1998. TV programs and movies, say some critics, are the most preventable cause of nightmares and anxieties in children. An authority on children and the media offers reassuring advice to parents on choosing appropriate television for children.

Associations

• The Center for Media Education is a national, nonprofit organization that studies the electronic media culture. Address: 2120 L St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037. Phone: 202/331-7833. Web site: www.cme.org.

• The Center for Media Literacy, a nonprofit membership organization based in Los Angeles, was founded and is staffed by media educators and analysts. Address: 4727 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 403, Los Angeles, Calif. 90010. Phone: 800/226-9494. Web site: www.medialit.org.

Online

• Coalition for Quality Children's Media, a national nonprofit group, has a Web site (www.cqcm.org/kidsfirst) with information about television. According to the site, the organization is a "voluntary collaboration between the media industry, educators and child advocacy organizations. The mission of CQCM is to enhance children's viewing experiences by making quality children's media more visible and more readily available."

• Children Now is a coalition of consumer leaders, educators, lawyers and other concerned Americans. Its Web site (www.childrennow.org) contains pages of information that will make parents think.

• A Parent's Guide to the TV Ratings and V-Chip can be found at www.vchipeducation.org. The comprehensive guide is co-sponsored by the Center for Media Education and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The site also explains how to use the V-chip device, a tool built into today's TV sets, which permits parents to screen out programs they deem unacceptable for their youngsters.

• Parentcenter.com's site (www.parentcenter.com/refcap/29891.html) offers a section on TV savvy, with headings such as "Test your TV savvy" and "TV alternatives that really work."

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