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Children as a Special Audience

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Mike Mitchell

on 20 April 2013

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Transcript of Children as a Special Audience

Children as a
Special Audience Why are Children regarded as a special group? Reason #1 Cognitive, emotional, and moral reasoning
abilities are at fairly low levels.

Takes time to develop these abilities to a point where a person can protect him or herself from media manipulation. Reason #2 Children lack real-world experience.

This makes it nearly impossible to fully process media messages well. Maturation Our abilities increase from when we our infants through adolescence. Cognitive Development When we are very young, we lack the development
needed to understand abstract thought.

simple mathematics (4x5) are difficult when we are 4 years old but very simple a few years later. Emotional Development We develop higher levels of emotional
literacy by gaining emotional experience and paying attention to our feelings as we interact with media. Moral Development We are not born knowing right from wrong - we learn these things in stages. The preconventional stage • Begins around 2 and runs to age 7 or 8. This is when a child is dependent on authority - inner controls are weak. Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development The conventional stage • When children develop a conscience for themselves. They can distinguish between truth and lies - threat of punishment is still a strong motivator. The postconventional stage • Can begin as early as middle adolescence.
People are able to transcend conventional
notions of right and wrong.
• The ability to think abstractly is developed.
• Is something wrong simply because it breaks
the rules? What is the moral component? Experience • Because children have less worldly experience,
they are much more likely to accept program
content as being accurate "information"..
• Other, more knowledgeable viewers will be able
to question this "information".
• Until many knowledge structures are formed,
world perspectives are quite limited. Protecting Children From Unfair Advertising Practices • Two types of regulation are aimed at protecting
children from unfair advertising practices.
1) Limit the amount of time devoted to advertising
to children. The limits are 12 minutes per hour
on weekdays and 10.5 minutes per hour on
* If a child averages around 3 hours of
television viewing per day, they will then be
exposed to around 3 hours of TV advertising
per week. 2) A policy to keep a clear separation between
program and commercial content. Bumpers are
put between a program and a commercial break,
ostensibly letting the child know that they are
no longer watching a show. Special Treatment From Parents Techniques used by parents to protect children and help them process media messages. Restrictive Mediation Involves setting rules about how much, when, and which types of television can be viewed. Coviewing Involves parents and children watching TV together.
This does not necessarily mean that what is being viewed is discussed. Active Mediation Consists of conversations that parents or other adults have with children about TV.
There's a wide spectrum here - from parents who rarely discuss television content, to parents who engage often with their children - discussing both positive and negative behavior portrayals. Use of Program ratings by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) seems to have made little difference in viewing habits. Information provided by the government mandated V-Chip have gone largely ignored by both parents and children. Natural Abilities Of our seven natural abilities most related to media literacy, four are cognitive - field independency, crystalline intelligence, fluid intelligence, and conceptual differentiation.
The remaining three are emotional - emotional intelligence, tolerance for ambiguity, and nonimpulsiveness. Field Independency Your natural ability to distinguish between the signal and the noise in any message. People with a high level of field independency, when reading news online, will be able to easily gather important information, ignoring pop-up ads, flashy graphics, and other background elements. Crystalline Intelligence The ability to memorize facts. Highly developed crystalline intelligence gives us the facility to absorb the images, definitions, opinions, and agendas of others. People with high CI are good at "vertical thinking". Vertical thinking is systematic, logical, and orderly.
This is the type of thinking needed to learn basic arithmetic, spelling, and important historical dates. Fluid Intelligence The ability to be creative and perceive things
in a unique way. Highly developed fluid intelligence is best measured by tests requiring mental manipulation of abstract symbols.

People with high FI are good at "lateral thinking". Lateral thinking does not proceed step by step in a straight line.
Thomas Edison is a great example of a lateral thinker. Conceptual Differentiation How we classify things. People who use a large number of separate categories to classify objects exhibit a high degree of CD.

People who use a small number of categories have a low degree of CD. An example would be lumping all
media messages into 3 categories - news, ads, and
entertainment. Leveling vs. Sharpening Strategy We categorize new messages by using either a leveling or sharpening strategy Leveling Strategy We look for similarities between the new message and previous messages we have stored as examples in our categories.

This years Super Bowl was pretty much the same as last year's. Sharpening Strategy Focuses on the differences and tries to maintain a high degree of separation between the new message and older messages.

This year's Super Bowl was very different from last year's. Emotional Intelligence Our ability to understand and control our emotions. People with higher E.I. have
• a more well-developed sense of empathy
• a greater awareness of their own emotions
• a better understanding of the factors that cause emotions People with higher E.I. are also less impulsive and are able to exercise more self-control. Tolerance for Ambiguity A low tolerance for initial uncertainty, when encountering an unfamiliar message, will lead to frustration and, ultimately, indifference. If we are willing to explore unfamiliar territory, and go beyond preconceptions, we have a high tolerance for ambiguity. Nonimpulsiveness This refers to how quickly people make decisions about messages. People who are impulsive, making decisions quickly, would rather risk being wrong than have to face uncertainty.

People who are reflective are much more concerned with accuracy than speed. They are fearful of being wrong.

Both of these modes of decision making are based, in large part, on emotion - how we feel about the process. Media Literacy can help children, adolescents, and adults reduce negative effects and increase positive effects of exposure to media messages.
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