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Running head: Mass media


Mass media

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Mass media

Modern mass media are supposed by programme-makers, politicians, and the public to have a predominantly vital role in childhood civilization, expansion, and performance. For each of these groups, and for children themselves, film, television, and video are time and again regarded as overlapping media. Films are revealed on television and are available on video for watching on domestic television equipment. Each medium overlaps in both children's and parents' discourse about media effects and children's responses to media. While there are significant methodological issues that can be raised about the specificity of different media, this essay follows the contours of existing debate by focusing mainly on television, including film and video which is watched on television. The concern for how adults should respond to children's interactions with media is both quotidian and real, and can be addressed in two interrelated ways. Children's interaction with media is on one hand a question of discourse, which focuses on how the terms of the issue are posed and how it is addressed. Secondly, the relations between children and media are a matter of action, including the procedures for parents' control and prohibition of media use, legal regulation and censorship, and policy debate. But action takes place on the basis of discursive assumptions about both children and media, where the legitimacy of law, policy, and parental control rests on stated or unstated theories of childhood and media culture. Both discourse and action are conducted by adults, so that any discussion of children's interaction with media must first recognize a certain virtuality of the object it addresses. While the figure of the child is massively present in discourses around the mass media, the child as a subject who might participate in these discourses remains largely silent.

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When asked to name the TV characters they admired the most, both boys and girls chose men for the top five spots. The children associated worrying about appearance and weight, crying, whining and weakness more with female then male TV characters. Playing sports, being a leader, wanting to be kissed or have sex was more associated with male characters. Girls and boys also reported that female TV characters were more likely than males to rely on someone else to solve their problems, whereas males tend to solve their own problems. Study of 1,200 kids of various ethnic backgrounds, 10-17 years old. 7 out of 10 girls said they wanted to look like a TV character. A third said that they had altered their appearance to look like the TV character. Children spend more time watching TV than they do in school, and by the time they reach 70, Americans will have spent 7 years of their lives watching TV. Thus, we need to be aware and develop media literate skills to examine the messages and information our children are learning via the media. As described in the Seville Statement (a consensus of the scientific community), Athere is no scientific basis for the belief that humans are naturally aggressive, violence seems to be more a function of social learning. Social learning theory, developed by Albert Bandura in 1963, posits that humans learn behavior by observing others. The act of watching TV is an observation process. TV demonstrates and models behaviors/attitudes that children acquire. (Gentile, Douglas A. Oberg, Charles Sherwood, Nancy E. Story, Mary Walsh, David A. Hogan, Marjorie)

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Parents need to set limits and be actively involved with the TV shows, computer games, magazines, and other media that children use. But this is only one step in helping media play a positive role in children's lives. Because media surround us and cannot always be avoided, one way to filter their messages is to develop the skills to question, analyze, and evaluate them. This is called media literacy or media education. Just as a print-literate child learns to be critical of the things he reads, he should also be able to do the same with moving pictures and sounds. Once children learn media education skills, they will begin to ask questions and think about the media messages they watch, read, and hear. (Karin Lesnik-Oberstein)


(Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996),The case and its implications for studies of children and media are discussed in David Buckingham, Moving Images: Understanding Children's Emotional Responses to Television; pp. 19-55.

Karin Lesnik-Oberstein Children in Cyberspace: A New Frontier', in Children in Culture: Approaches to Childhood, ed. (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1998), pp. 231-47.

Gentile, Douglas A. Oberg, Charles Sherwood, Nancy E. Story, Mary Walsh, David A. Hogan, Marjorie; Well-child visits in the video age: pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines for children's media use. Pediatrics; November 1, 2004.

M2 Presswire (2001) Top brands expose their employees to liability under... Sep 4.

Clarke Caywood (1997) The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations & Integrated Communications, McGraw Hill, New York, 1997, p. 23.

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