MediaWise® is the movement for everyone who cares about kids. It explains what media are doing to our children and youth and what we can do about it. MediaWise is an initiative of the National Institute on Media and the Family, a non-profit organization. MediaWise
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Institute on Media and the Family?

Founded by psychologist David Walsh, Ph.D. in 1996, the Institute is a nonprofit, national resource center for research, information, and education about the impact of the media on children and families.

What is the Mission of the National Institute on Media and the Family?

The mission of the National Institute on Media and the Family is to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm of media on children and families through research, education, and advocacy.  The Institute is a national resource that provides educational tools and materials to help parents, teachers, community leaders, and other caring adults understand the impact of the media, so they can make informed choices for children.

Is the Institute affiliated with any political group?

No. The National Institute is not affiliated with any political or religious organization. We do develop partnerships with national organizations and corporations who are committed to maximizing the benefits and minimizing the harm of media on children and families.

Is the Institute trying to censor the media?

Absolutely not. The National Institute on Media and the Family does not endorse censorship of any kind. We fully support the United States Bill of Rights and honor the important freedom bestowed on us with the First Amendment.

The Institute seeks to educate, to inform, and to provide parents and other caregivers with the information they need to make appropriate choices for their children. We develop tools to help parents and other caring adults understand media’s impact on children.  With that goal in mind, we have developed KidScore, the content-based ratings system on media products that are likely to affect children.

Click here to discover tools that are currently available.

What is the MediaWise Movement?

Launched in 2001, MediaWise is a national movement designed to help concerned adults "watch what your kids watch" by building public awareness of the epidemic of media violence, establishing community-based training and education programs, and commissioning careful research to monitor the ongoing effects of media's influence on children.

Why does the Institute put so much emphasis on excessive use of, and violence in, the media?

The statistics are staggering. Excessive media use among our children has been linked to:

  • Increased rates of obesity;
  • Impaired brain development, including a proclivity for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder;
  • Poor academic performance and lower reading scores;
  • Behavioral problems, ranging from rampant disrespect and "bad attitudes" to acts of violence and aggression;
  • Increased tobacco use and underage drinking;
  • Sexual activity at an early age.

For more information view our Fact Sheets.

How are the Institute's activities funded?

The Institute receives grants from foundations and corporations and donations from individuals. To see a complete list of contributors see our 2004 Annual Report. If you would like information on how you or your employer could support the work of the Institute, click here for information on becoming a Friend of the Institute.

©2005 National Institute on Media and the Family.