Media Changes Cultural Values

Weare living in a culture very different than culture even ten years ago. Many people believe this, but don’t understand how we got here. Even more importantly, they wonder:

  “How do we fix it?” 

#1 Remember that we learn our values through stories from childhood.

A few examples…


  • Tortoise and the Hare teaches value of perseverance
  • Boy Who Cried Wolf teaches value of honesty
  • The Ugly Duckling teaches patience through adversity creates beauty and humility
  • The Little Engine That Could teaches us to just try. “I think I can!

#2 Consider Where We Hear and See Stories Today

The average American adult spends…


  • 5 hours per day watching live TV
  • +32 minutes of time-shifted TV (DVR)
  • +1 hour on the internet on a computer
  • +1 hour 7 minutes on a smartphone


And kiddos?


  • 2-11 year olds spend 24 hours and 16 minutes watching TV every week


But it’s not just television…


  • As of 2014, YouTube reaches more 18-34 year olds than any U.S. Cable Network
  • 68% of the U.S. population – that’s over 2/3! – went to the theater to watch a movie in 2014
  • The average American reads 12 books every year


#3 Realize That the Values Taught In Stories Have Changed

UCLA has studied the top shows (according to Nielsen ratings) for children ages 9-11 every ten years since 1967. They identified 16 values and assessed them within the characters in the shows. They rarely saw much shift in values being taught…until the decade from 1997 to 2007.


#4 Review the Effect of Stories With Changed Values

A couple of examples…

According to a May 2015 Gallup Report:


The values portrayed in media set cultural norms.

If you don’t like the state of the world outside your door, then join with SON and engage in activity that really does create change.