Here at CMCH we have long followed the research of Amy Jordan, director of the Media and the Developing Child sector of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Today she had an opinion piece published in the San Francisco Chronicle titled Subjecting Our Youth to Cyberspace Experiments, where she points out that while identity development is a positive aspect of social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster, the owners do not have the best interests of children and adolescents at heart. Bottom line: there is money to be made from advertising to youth.
Jordan points out that it is costly to study the effect of media on developing children, and that the Children and Media Research Advancement Act (CAMRA) would "authorize long-term funding to establish a coherent research program on the many forms of electronic media and the myriad ways it affects children, from their developing brains to their developing bodies." CAMRA is expected to be voted on in September.