What is My Pop Studio?
My Pop Studio is a creative play experience that strengthens critical thinking skills about television, music, magazines and online media directed at girls. Users select from
four behind-the-scenes opportunities to learn more about mass media:
- In the Magazine Studio, users compose a magazine layout featuring themselves as celebrities. They write an advice column, explore the power of digital retouching, and
reflect on the role of body image in today's culture.
- In the TV Studio, users edit a TV show where the story keeps changing but the images remain the same. They examine their TV viewing choices, comment on teen celebrities,
and compare their daily screen time with others.
- In the Music Studio, users create a pop star and compose her image and song. They explore the power of music in selling a product and search for truth in media gossip. The
comment on the values messages in popular music.
- In the Digital Studio, users test their multi-tasking abilities. They share their experiences with the challenges of digital life online. They consider the "what
if's" of social networking sites and reflect on the power of media and technology in their social relationships.
My Pop Studio strengthens media literacy skills, promotes positive youth development, and increases knowledge about health issues. Highly interactive creative play
activities are used to create an online community that guides users through the process of deconstructing, analyzing and creating media. Video segments, flash animation, media
deconstruction games and quizzes, and moderated blogs make the website lively, fun and educational.
Who Created this Site?
My Pop Studio was created by a team of researchers and media professionals at the Media Education Lab, located at Temple University's School of Communication and Theater in the
Department of Broadcast Telecommunication and Mass Media. Sherri Hope Culver and Renee Hobbs led the production team. Our mission is to expand and improve the practice of
media literacy and to conduct research examining the relationship between media, technology, community and education in the lives of children and youth. For more information
about us, please visit: www.mediasmartphilly.com
Web development services were provided by eduweb, an award-winning educational multimedia production company under the leadership of David T.
Schaller. For more information about eduweb, please visit: http://www.eduweb.com
Pop Star Producer Music Credits
Song composition and arrangements: Tim Buzza
Mixing: Tim Buzza and David T. Schaller
Lyrics: David T. Schaller, Sherri Hope Culver, and Susan Nagel
Guitars and keyboards: Tim Buzza
Pop and country vocals: Andra Suchy
Hip-hop vocals: Protegee
National Advisory Board
A group of national experts from the fields of adolescent development, women's studies, publishing, public health, new media studies and medicine contributed valuable advice
and insight on the development of the site. Special thanks go to:
- Henry Jenkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Sharon Lamb, St. Michael's College
- Karen Bokram, Publisher, Girls Life
- Linda Smolak, Kenyon College
- Dr. Brian Primack, University of Pittsburgh Medical School
- Nancy Gruver, New Moon Magazine
- Susannah Stern, University of California, San Diego
- Tanya Jackson, Philadelphia Communities in Schools
Regional Focus Groups
Teams of girls from different parts of the country gathered regularly to review the site and provide feedback during the development of the project. The diversity of the
girls (ethnically, racially and socioeconomically) helped to assure that the site would speak to all girls. We are grateful to the 59 girls who participated in the formative
evaluation process. Special thanks to our focus group moderators, including:
- Cyndy Scheibe, Project Look Sharp. Ithaca, NY
- Kim Baranowski, LeAp After School, New York, NY
- Stephanie Flores-Koulish, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
- KC Lynch, Action for Media Education, Seattle, WA
- Gwen Hoppe, Willard Alternative High School, Missoula, MT
- Terry Miller, Good Shepherd School, Beverly Hills, CA
- Sherri Hope Culver, Media Education Lab, Philadelphia PA
Who Funded this Site?
My Pop Studio was funded under a contract from the Office on Women's Health (OWH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This agency coordinates the efforts of all the
HHS agencies and offices involved in women's health. OWH works to improve the health and well-being of women and girls in the United States through its innovative programs,
by educating health professionals, and motivating behavior change in consumers through the dissemination of health information. Dr. Jonelle C. Rowe is the Senior Medical
Advisor for Adolescent Women's Health with a special interest in the role of media and online technologies as tools to promote adolescent health. In addition to supporting
My Pop Studio, Dr. Rowe has spearheaded the development of GirlsHealth.gov, an online effort to increase awareness about health, nutrition, and positive health behavior
among young women in America today. For more information, visit: http://www.girlshealth.gov
Why Is This Site Necessary?
Entertainment media, popular culture, product placement, advertising, celebrity culture and online social interaction all have an influence on girls' social, mental, physical
and emotional development. A recent study showed that 70% of people who work with children and youth (including educators and leaders of youth-oriented non-profits) believe
that today's children are not well-equipped to deal with the current digital media and advertising environment. Few tools are available to address this need.
Children and young people are turning to the Internet for a wide range of entertainment and informational activities. Parents and peers are key agents of influence
in shaping attitudes about nutrition, beauty and identity, social relationships, celebrity culture, health behaviors and the interpretation of media messages about these
topics. Because many girls will play with My Pop Studio at home, parents have an opportunity to initiate dialogue about these issues by interacting with the program with
What are the Learning Outcomes of My Pop Studio?
The goal of the program is to transform girls' experiences with the media messages they see on TV and in magazines, on the radio, and on the web, moving away from simple and
passive scanning towards a more active, cognitive, reflective and critical response. My Pop Studio 1) strengthens media literacy skills, 2) promotes positive youth development,
and 3) increases knowledge about health issues. Specific learning outcomes include:
Primary Learning Outcome
Secondary Learning Outcomes
Recognize that value messages are present in entertainment messages (through the lyrics, the music genre, and the performer's image).
Appreciate that people interpret media messages based on their life experiences and social background.
Understand that media messages help to create and maintain a wide range of different moods, feelings and emotional states for audience members.
Learn that media producers make many different choices in constructing media messages, including musical elements of the song as well as musician's appearance.
Recognize that media messages may present ideas that glamorize substance abuse or depict altered mental states as desirable.
Understand that lyrics express aspects of social and romantic relationships that can have positive or negative values, including gender stereotypes. Pop music employs
stereotypes of women and men and people of different races in order to appeal to target audiences. These stereotypes may affect people's ideas about themselves and others.
Recognize that pop musicians are "constructed" (through appearance, fashion, genre and lyrics) to represent a specific image and to appeal to a specific
target audience. Celebrities display some traits and qualities (like vanity and self-centeredness) that are not really appealing in real life.
Understand that "popularity" has economic value in the media marketplace because the music industry relies on direct sales from consumers. Music is often used
to sell products by associating a product with a feeling.
Increase a sense of competence by learning to use a simple music-making tool and realize that to do something well takes a lot of practice to develop skills.
Recognize that people make media messages with specific goals and objectives in mind. They construct messages according to various genre formats, which have their own
Understand that television "reality shows" are constructed through the editing process. The order and sequence of events can be manipulated. These decisions are
made in order to tell a story with a specific purpose and point of view.
Learn how character stereotypes are created by selective emphasis and omission in the editing process.
Gain greater awareness of the amount of time they spend in front of screens (TV, movies, videogames & the Internet).
Recognize the power they have to make effective choices about their media consumption behavior.
Know that many young people use media messages to learn about how to behave in situations they have not yet experienced.
Recognize that media messages depict social relationships in ways that emphasize conflict and aggression. These depictions of social relationships are often unrealistic
Gain knowledge about less familiar media messages (including books, movies, videogames TV shows, and websites) that girls use to create a sense of shared community.
Recognize how celebrity culture emphasizes certain traits and qualities that are different from traits valued in the real world.
Increase a sense of competence by learning to use a simple video editing tool.
Increase their sense of belonging by being part of a community.
Recognize that fashion magazines and advertising create impossible ideals and stereotypes that are unrealistic, unhealthy and undesirable in real life.
Learn that people shouldn't evaluate their own body shape or size by comparing it to what they see in women's magazines and on TV.
Appreciate that celebrities are "constructed" through selective emphasis and omission of information about them.
Understand that print media presents conflicting messages about food, nutrition, weight management, and health and that not all messages are truthful or accurate. It's
important to assess the credibility and authenticity of these messages.
Gain skills in comparing and contrasting information about nutrition and weight management from different information sources by recognizing different deceptive marketing
Recognize how marketing techniques are embedded in magazine content in ways that mask the message's real purpose.
Appreciate that women's magazines appeal to the sense of self-improvement but recognize that images may create unrealistic ideals that can warp self-esteem.
Gain skills of finding trustworthy information about weight management and health online and in magazines.
Gain greater awareness of the amount of time they spend using multiple media and engaging in multiple tasks at the same time.
Learn that people's attention and focus are altered when they have to work on more than one thing at a time.
Recognize the power they have to make effective choices about their media consumption behavior when they are online.
Appreciate that online communication enables people to behave differently online than in real life. Anonymity and lack of non-verbal cues create disinhibition effects
which lead people to sometimes behave in socially inappropriate ways.
Recognize that people need to act responsibly in all aspects of their communication behavior.
Know that many young people use online chat or IM to learn about how to behave in situations they have not yet experienced in face-to-face situations.
Recognize that the Internet enables social relationships to develop through building a sense of community but that these relationships should not interfere with or
displace real-world relationships with family, neighbors and school friends.
What Does it Cost to Use My Pop Studio?
My Pop Studio is freely available online. Users are invited to register upon visiting the site, so that they may return to the site and access the media messages they have