CHEER Studies

Children's Relationships with Media Characters

Katie sharing a shared drink with stuffed animal

Do you feel sad when something bad happens to a TV character you Like?  Do you know what your favorite mediacharacter likes and what they don’t like? Have you ever cheered for a character on screen as they accomplished a goal? You are experiencing a parasocial relationship with a media character – a one-sided interpersonal relationship with a media persona.  Children and adults form parasocial relationships, and we use research to better understand those relationships.

Children and Educational Media

Child holding an elmo

Children learn from experiences both on and offline -- with and without a screen. Children's educational media has been challenged to deliver educational benefits with content and form while maintaining an audience.  Through research, we can explore the ways in which communication strategies and theory blend with educational and curricular goals to teach, inspire, and strengthen youth through media.  

Media Content

Zev watching TV

Content matters. No matter what the media platform, the messages we sent and received have an impact on our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Our research analyzes content both qualitatively and quantitatively to examine the types of messages youth experience. We also explore how media policies relate to media message regulation across different media platforms and in different cultures.