What has more influence over our children: Paris Hilton, The Simpsons, Facebook, mobile phones, trendy brands, sexy media messages … or you?

That is one of the questions that will be explored by Associate Professor Karen Brooks, pictured, at a public lecture at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus on April 30.

Professor Brooks, who took up an appointment in the media department in SCU’s School of Arts and Social Sciences at the start of the year, has recently released a book ‘Consuming Innocence: Popular Culture and Our Children’.

In the book, she explores the complex relationship that tots, tweens and teens — never mind adults — have with popular culture.

She considers the role popular culture and, more importantly, parents, play in creating children’s ideas of themselves and the world they live in.

Her book questions the involvement of corporations that target kids and promote sexuality, and the messages and values the other media surrounding them are imparting.

Professor Brooks said the recent cases of cyber and real world bullying, where kids, desperate to become ‘cewebrities’ (a cross between celebrities and the web), upload footage of themselves beating another young person or use their mobile phones to film fights and sexual exploits, had parents and teachers reeling.

“We live in a world where we assume we have no control over the media, popular culture or the technologies that our kids are readily accessing and seem to be born using, but this isn’t true,” Professor Brooks said.

“My talk will discuss the changes in society brought about through digital technology and popular culture and our kids’ consumption of these things and examine the impact they’re all having on young people, families and communities and what we, as adults, can do about this.”

Described by former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss as the ‘grunge queen’, Professor Brooks has established a national and international reputation in the area of popular culture and is a regular commentator in the media on issues ranging from youth culture to parenting.

The public lecture will be held at the Whitebrook Theatre, Southern Cross University Lismore campus, at 7pm on Wednesday, April 30.

For information contact Wendy Broome on 66203125 or email wendy.broome@scu.edu.au