The Super Bowl Ad Game: What Makes a Brand Fumble?


Emotions and mental models drive viewer engagement and brand recall. KEY POINTS Audience heuristics, mental models, and expectations determine a commercial's success. Celebrity collaborations can boost brand trust, but they risk the vampire effect without attention to balance. Popularity isn't the same as message effectiveness or behavioral intention. Visual content that conflicts with the brand message undermines the intended impact. Nielson reported that Super Bowl LVIII had 120.3 million viewers, putting it second on the list of most-viewed American television events behind the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. Emotions ran high with the excitement over a halftime show by Usher [...]

The Super Bowl Ad Game: What Makes a Brand Fumble?2024-02-21T06:34:11-08:00

The Name and Frame Matters When it Comes to Public Support of Opioid Prevention Programs


The Name and Frame Matters When it Comes to Public Support of Opioid Prevention Programs. Lessons learned from Dr. Jennifer Johnston's professional and academic journey as a media psychology scholar. Dr. Jennifer Johnson Dr. Jennifer Johnston is a media psychologist and Associate Professor of psychology at Western New Mexico University. She was also a licensed mental health clinician for 15 years before entering academia.  She graduated from Fielding Graduate University in 2013. Since then, she conducts research at the intersection of media effects and psychological disorder, and serves as the chair of the Institutional Review Board [...]

The Name and Frame Matters When it Comes to Public Support of Opioid Prevention Programs2024-02-13T15:49:45-08:00

How Holiday Sharenting Can Put Your Kids at Risk


Online personas crafted by parents can hinder a child's identity development. KEY POINTS Sharenting, even with the best intentions, can violate a child's privacy and disclose personal information. Social media providers have the right to use all content you post to target ads and train algorithms. Sharenting creates a public image that may conflict with a teen's self-image and hinder identity development. The holiday season is in full swing. Parties and family gatherings mean lots of Instagram photo ops. It's easy to get swept up in the fun, but here's a reminder: put down the eggnog and take a breath [...]

How Holiday Sharenting Can Put Your Kids at Risk2023-12-21T10:40:51-08:00

Why Holiday Movies Can Combat Loneliness and Stress


Holiday movies boost our positive emotions and sense of social connection. KEY POINTS Holiday films can elevate spirits and provide an escape from stress. Nostalgia from rewatching favorites kindles warmth and feelings of social support. Family watch parties strengthen bonds, link generations, and create traditions. Holiday movies are here, reminding us that it’s time for the Christmas holidays. Americans rank watching holiday movies as one of their favorite traditions, above tree decorating and cookie baking. I like to check out the lists of "most popular" Christmas movies each year as an ersatz "needs" barometer. Much less scientific than the Belonging [...]

Why Holiday Movies Can Combat Loneliness and Stress2023-12-06T09:13:52-08:00

Leveling Up: Developmental Psych for Setting Video Game Controls


Here's how to set developmentally appropriate video game controls for tweens and teens that support the dynamic nature of a child's growth. KEY POINTS Effective digital parenting adapts to children's maturing needs over time. Tweens benefit from structures that balance gameplay with diverse developmental activities. Young teens need a combination of independence and supportive parental guidance. Teach older teens to self-regulate through discussions and collaborative boundary-setting If you have considered setting parental controls for your kids' video games and gaming systems, the dizzying complexity of today's gaming platforms can be overwhelming, making you hesitant to allow much video gameplay. Yet, [...]

Leveling Up: Developmental Psych for Setting Video Game Controls2023-11-13T15:04:12-08:00

How and Why to Use Parental Controls in Video Games


Parental controls are like training wheels for keeping young players safe. KEY POINTS In spite of parental concerns, gaming can foster resilience, social skills, and cognitive development. Many consoles and gaming ecosystems offer parents multiple levels of control. Parental controls should be like training wheels, providing structure as players mature. Discussing and adapting parental restrictions as kids mature can build trust and teach values. The top questions I get from parents are about screen time, most of them driven by fear. Screen time is today’s bogeyman, the monster under the bed. We blame it for everything from depression and anger to poor body image. Restricting screen time [...]

How and Why to Use Parental Controls in Video Games2023-11-09T09:42:18-08:00

7 Strategies to Help Kids Cope With War Images in the Media


Kids need digital literacy skills when faced with distressing media content. KEY POINTS TikTok is kids’ go-to for news about current events, putting them at risk for misinformation and distress. Videos activate emotion, create social presence and influence beliefs and attitudes. Digital literacy strategies can give kids the necessary skills to manage distressing content. Social media is the main source of news for over half of Americans, particularly for Gen Z. On TikTok, one-third of users are between ages 10 and 19. These young people are getting information from a platform where professional journalists are overrun by opinionated TikTokers and bots. [...]

7 Strategies to Help Kids Cope With War Images in the Media2023-10-30T08:48:36-07:00

How to Find Media Balance During Violent Conflicts


Media management can help you stay current without sacrificing well-being. KEY POINTS Violent images trigger fight or flight, decrease cognitive scrutiny, and increase persuasive impact. TikTok is a go-to source for world events putting users at risk for emotional distress and misinformation. Using media management strategies can protect your mental health. It’s hard to escape the horrors of war when violent and gruesome images flood the media. Conflicting reports make staying current difficult, increasing our sense of “need to know”—leading quickly to doomscrolling behaviors such as those we saw during COVID-19. The tendency to look and keep looking is normal. It's [...]

How to Find Media Balance During Violent Conflicts2023-10-27T13:00:10-07:00

Ghosting: How to Deal with Digital Disconnects in Dating


Just because ghosting is on the rise doesn't make it hurt less. KEY POINTS Ghosting's rise coincides with the popularity of online dating and mobile apps. Ghosting leaves people feeling abandoned, questioning their desirability, and grappling with uncertainty. Self-awareness and coping strategies can decrease careless ghosting and build resilience. There are two kinds of ghosting. Both involve disappearing after making contact, but only one comes with treats. Ghosting at Halloween means you ring the doorbell, leave a bag of treats, and then run away before anyone can see you. Ghosting online or on dating apps is simply disappearing without an explanation. No treats. [...]

Ghosting: How to Deal with Digital Disconnects in Dating2023-10-25T08:17:21-07:00

Beyoncé’s #MuteChallenge as a Mindfulness Moment


By silencing the noise, Beyoncé created a viral trend that enhanced experience. KEY POINTS The #mutechallenge, a viral moment from Beyonce’s new tour, offers a rare opportunity to practice mindfulness. The act of being silent can help draw attention to the present moment and what is going on inside the body. Teachers have taken to using the #mutechallenge in classrooms to help children focus and improve learning. The #mutechallenge is a viral trend that emerged from Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour. Beyoncé starting a viral trend isn’t surprising—she is one of the most influential music artists. However, I was intrigued when [...]

Beyoncé’s #MuteChallenge as a Mindfulness Moment2023-10-10T12:26:38-07:00
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