Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Arts and Communication

First Advisor

Heidi Hatfield Edwards

Second Advisor

Theodore G. Petersen

Third Advisor

Mark T. Harvey

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


This study analyzes media messages through the lenses of social cognitive theory and cultivation theory. Specifically, this study focuses on messages about smartphone use in children’s cartoons. This study found smartphones are portrayed in a positive manner in the majority of the episodes. Themes of smartphone use included learning, helping, and increasing social standing in the case of capturing content for vlogs. Characters who modeled smartphone use were brave and helpful, but in some cases distracted. Outcomes for smartphone use were overwhelmingly positive. Based on the widespread usage of smartphones in real life, smartphone usage is only going to become more widespread in the mass media. This study provides a starting point for future research into media messages about smartphones and how those messages may affect viewers.


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Communication Commons