Mediated children: From couch potatoes to digital natives


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Lecture given at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University.

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  • People aren’t yet dropping cable in sig numbers just because they get what they want onlineStatus quo outdated already, right?
  • A little history
  • Passive receptors of media
  • TV - Philo FarnsworthPros – edu, escape
  • “I want that!” gameFTC
  • Preschoolers have a direct link between TV hours and the amount of sugary snacks and soda they consume. Watching violence on TV increases violent behavior and tolerance of becoming a victim. Viewing characters who smoke on the screen more than quintuples the risk that a teen will start smoking. Teens (ages 12-17) who view heavy sexual content on TV are twice as likely to step up their level of intimacy
  • NES = Super mario brosOf course now all new systems – wii, kinect
  • Apr 20 1999Colorado
  • Arpanet – DoD; “packets” of info sent bt certain locations where 4 computers were in US (universities)…very slowTCIP - Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP)…router. Allowed net to spreadDial-up – web available to all!CERN – european org for nuclear rsrchCOPPA Updates = stricter guidelines, esp for sites directed at kids
  • Who here has public profiel? When you first joined?Seen those ads targeted just to you?BIG DATA
  • “These will all be on your exam”All of this has been developed in the last 10 years! A lot in less!
  • How many of you recognize this noise?Web 1.0 – where we were just a short whiel agoHtml: Websites were what they were. That’s it. No blogs, no editignEmail was a HUGE dealWe all communicated through this: aol instant messenger…instead of fb, ppl did this to stay in touch at college (learned to type!)How many of you have been in a chat room? – NOT chat roulette! Like, a yahoo chat roomLow bandwitdh and limited hardware meant REALLY slow, and really glitchy2.0 – where we are nowAnyone can create and edit a blog, website – wikipedia, wikisRSS feeds to give us what kind news we want, when we want it (anyone use rss?)Podcasts on itunes, Blogs like tumblr, microblogging like twitterVideo like Youtube, vimeo – even hulu!Bye bye dial-up, hello speed! Computing is cheap so now it’s becoming ubiquitous…everyone’s getting in on it – across the globe3.0semantic’ web…info gathered au Technology is tomatically based on meaning/associations – customizable; BIG DATACommunity will be found online, rather than off – online communities both in form of places like reddit, secondlife, but also in groups orgs, and even unoficially ---already happening!-you’ll notice a few of these are already happening. This was made in 2010 and it’s already behind the timesCloud computing - already here!store all your data – software, hardware, info – access from anywaher. iCloud, Dropbox---Are we on cusp of web 3.0?Technology is endlessly evolving. All these changes are affecting every facet of our lives – including TV
  • PortabilityImmediacyProductivityIBM released the 5100 in 1975. You’d think it’d be later, right? But actually got satrted really early on.The gavilian was actually made for your lap, and flipped open and everythingIn 199os, ibm, dell, apple got began competeing – Powerbook in 1997Now this is what we have, right? Laptops were great because they offered portability, immediate availablity of information, and allowed us (or more specifically, business people) to be more productive – everywhere!
  • Smartphones made the laptop’s technology even more portable…used primarily by businesspeopleThey started in the 90s with nokia 9000…in fact, nokia dominated the global market in cell phones until 2011, when apple knocked em over with the iphoneReasearch in motion jumped in in 99 with the blackberry which was hugely popular. So popular, in fact, that they grew comfotable and didn’t change anything when the iphone came out in 2007 – now they filed for bankruptcy and are still struggling despite the bberry 10Now, of course, 1 in 5 ppl in the world has a smartphone, and they come in all different brands – with touch interface instead of keypads like the older blackberries
  • FuhuNabi
  • Originally for Harvard students, then Ivy league, then colleges, then for all over 13StatsResearch shows that people use facebook to connect with friends and family they don’t see often, as an escape from everyday life (although you can argue it’s everyday life compressed), and just to have funTV networks use it for its pages – for their channels, shows and actors
  • Age screening blocks certain users who r underage
  • Schools blockPrivacy not valued as much in this gen …GOD OR BAD?Instant grat: NYT girl cant wait for next week…’youtube?’
  • Loss of community in physical worldJust diff way of doing things!--NYT girl who doesn get ads
  • GamesSchool bus stories“Drama”
  • -only friends with kids; parents & fam rarely comment but do so in acceptable ‘kid’ ways (fun for parents too?!)…even if parents do, can’t decode language [below]- Also zone where parents can be “friends” – let go of strict definition of ‘parental role’ bc of level (even if small) of web anonymity- Place where parents AND kids can ‘be who they wanna be’- Reduce power relation
  • ‘Swaggbangerr’Pics of things they like – everywhere“Likes”Ugh, they “like” everything. It’s so annoying ‘cause it pops up all the time.CommentaryThey’ll be like, “I’m the best singer ever” and stuff. They brag. LyricsNicknamesImages
  • Mature‘Likes’PostsTag locationsNever home or school
  • not really replication of outside world (maybe for some kids, especially w parents on site), but a freer version to express daily thoughts and emotions without serious adult input…address concerns through other kidsCommentary on life hereCommentary on life thereFreedom to express
  • Cyberbullying oppositeCommentary on confrontationPreventative measure?
  • Plus hashtagsVery different from adultsGamesTaggingThey tag you in everything. It, like, blows up. Acronym use
  • Mediated children: From couch potatoes to digital natives

    1. 1. MEDIATED CHILDREN From Couch Potatoes to Digital Natives Jaime R. Riccio Ph.D. Student, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Syracuse University @Slaymer
    2. 2. BY THE NUMBERS Avg: ~20 hours per week Kids spend ~10.5 hrs/day w media 80% have cable 58% kids watch TV every day 80% have internet access - 4.5 hours <5% “zero TV” homes 70% kids own a mobile device >45% get TV online 38% kids under 2 use mobile devices Sources: Pew, Nielsen, Kaiser Fdn.
    3. 3. WHAT IS MORAL PANIC? “Hypodermic Needle” Cultivation Theory (Gerbner) Social Learning Theory (Bandura) - Modeling
    4. 4. TUNING IN TV introduced in 1928  Felix the Cat  In homes by 1950s Kids Shows  1950 - Children‟s programming  ABC Saturday mornings  Howdy Doody  1960s – Cartoons  Late 1960s – Education  Flintstones  1968: Mr. Rogers  1969: Sesame Street
    5. 5. ADVERTISING No product placement Can’t interrupt kids’ programming unless 30 mins No back-to-back ads featuring show characters No “vice ads” featuring kid-friendly characters No ads for “vices” before 10pm
    6. 6. MORAL PANIC Violence Physical health  60% of TV is violent Weight - Snacking Smoking  Increase in risky behaviors  Aggression  Desensitization  Bandura‟s “Bobo” Doll Ad Issues  Sexualization  Body image issues  Eating disorders
    7. 7. GAMING Play What?!  1958 – Tennis for Two  Brookhaven oscilloscope  1962 – SpaceWar!  Computer system  1972 – Atari  Home system  Pong Popular Devices  1980s  Nintendo NES („85)  Sega Genesis („88)  1990s  PlayStation („94)  2000s  Microsoft Xbox (‟01)  Now: Mobile gaming!
    8. 8. MORAL PANIC Violence 68% of games are violent - Desensitization - Aggression - Risky acts Case Study: Columbine shootings Doom
    9. 9. SURFING The Evolution of WWW  1963 – ARPANET  1982 – TCP/IP  1990s – dial-up  1992 – CERN  1995 – Yahoo!  2000s – broadband Just for Kids  COPPA  FTC – 1998  Updates June 2013
    10. 10. MORAL PANIC Vulnerability - Advertisers - Online predators Privacy From companies From peers From strangers Instant gratification
    11. 11. Image from
    12. 12. LAPTOP IBM 5100, 1975 – first portable computer 1983 – first “laptop” (Gavilian SC) “Modern” in the 1990s For Kids  62% own  In school  In play
    13. 13. SMARTPHONE Global market share: 22%  1 in 5 people  ~40% of kids Brands  Nokia – 1996  BlackBerry – 1999  iPhone – 2007 Source: Business Insider
    14. 14. TABLET Global market share: 6%  1 in 17 people  ~40% of kids Faster adoption than smartphones! Brands:  Microsoft Tablet PC – 2000  iPad – 2010  Kindle Fire – 2011 Kids  Fuhu Nabi – 2012  Innotab – 2012 Source: Business Insider
    15. 15. SOCIAL NETWORKING Facebook Visual  Founded 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg  1.1 billion users Tumblr - 2007  Lots underage! Instagram - 2010 **SnapChat - 2012 Vine - 2013 Twitter Founded 2006 500 million users Source: EBizMBA
    16. 16. DO KIDS ‘GET’ SOCIAL MEDIA? Yes. They do!  Facebook  13 year olds now public  7.5 million kids under 13  5 million under 10  Twitter  Age Screening app  Most profiles public Kids’ SNS Club Penguin Dgamer Apps Oregon Trail Flow Free PBS Kids Snapchat - #1 for teens
    17. 17. MORAL PANIC Values Overstimulation  Increases future attention problems/ hyperactivity Multitasking  SelfControl app Privacy  Not valued as much  Instant gratification  Narcissism  Desire for fame ranked #1 in tweens  Performance?  Relationships  “Friends” “Connected disconnect” “The tethered child”
    18. 18. CYBERBULLYING Affects almost half of all teens Anonymous  43% of teens  16%-30% of high schoolers  6% of children aged 11-18  'Keyboard courage‟ Pervasive  No "safe haven"  Visible to world Other Types  Cyberstalking  Catfishing  Sexting  False memorials Source: CDC
    19. 19. IS IT ALL BAD? OF COURSE NOT! Community Gives kids a voice Gathering space for all Education  Freedom to express like never before  Navigate new worlds  Impression management  “Information Age”  150,000 apps for education  PBS Kids, Fisher Price = best-selling  Vocab app shows 31% improvement
    20. 20. NAVIGATING THE ‘WEB’ OF CHILDHOOD: 10 – 13 year-olds’ use of Facebook 5 children from NY/NJ - 3 boys, 2 girls “Netnography” & interview 7 Themes
    21. 21.              Ikr smh stfu ily idk idc tbh a‟f gtfoh hyfr lms gUd &joi  I know, right?  shaking my head  shut the f*** up  I love you  I don’t know  I don’t care  to be honest  “…as f***”  get the f*** outta here  hell yeah f***ing right  like my status  good  enjoy The digital generation. What will they bring? Who will they be?
    22. 22. MEDIATED CHILDREN From Couch Potatoes to Digital Natives Jaime R. Riccio Ph.D. Student, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Syracuse University @Slaymer