Pinocchio to Pokémon - The History of Children's Media Spring 2024, Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 p.m. at Norris University Center

Jacob Smith, Professor, Radio-Television-Film Director, MA in Sound Arts and Industries


When we consider the subject of children’s media culture, we quickly discern a host of contradictory behaviors and attitudes: childhood is seen as a period of timeless wonder, but children are bombarded with all the latest fads and gadgets; we try to insulate children from the adult world, but provide them with media technologies that allow them easy access to it.


This class will explore contradictions such as these by exploring the history of children’s media. We will discuss film adaptations of fairy tales and classic children’s literature; children’s television; digital games; children’s music; and online video. Our case studies will allow us to engage with debates about contemporary media culture and the nature of childhood. Children are often understood to be a particularly vulnerable segment of the media audience, and children’s media has much to tell us about media regulation and censorship, theories about media influence, and the media’s role in education and marketing.

NOTE: This course includes suggested viewing material. Previewing is optional, but doing so will enhance your lecture experience. The list with links will be posted on our website OR you may search to find where each case study is currently available. If you are viewing the PDF of this brochure, you may click on the links below. Please bear in mind that titles constantly cycle in and out of every streaming service’s library. Check with your local library to see if it circulates the DVDs or offers free access to