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Media Monkeys - Kids say the funniest things

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Alexander Residence: Media Monkeys - Kids say the funniest things

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Media Monkeys - Kids say the funniest things

Once upon a time, in a faraway place, before I had children, in what seems many moons ago, I taught Media in a secondary school.   My A level groups did a research project called Children and Television, in which they researched the effects of television on young minds.  This often resulted in them making hugely spurious claims of the effects of television.  My role was to challenge them to see young children as more than porous empty vessels to be loaded with violent, sexist, consumerist, mixed up messages about the world. Now I have children, life feels like a daily media research project.  I still credit children with being incredibly media savvy, they can decode messages, and process them in line with what they already know about the world.  But I realise my four year old is going to need a lot of help with that ( 'Mummy stop, look at the terrovision, I want that!').  I realise how important media education and literacy is (I have listed some resources for young children below).  By that I don't mean teaching media is bad, it's not.  In fact much of it is hugely creative and exciting.  It also offers huge employment possibilities, who knows maybe my children will become ad designers or TV producers.  But learning to decode television's messages and make up your own mind, that's what I will be aiming for.  Especially after this exchange with four year old Miss L:

Miss L and gran are beating buttercream for fairy cakes.  Miss L loses her grip on the spoon and smears buttercream across her dress.

Miss L: Mummy is it tough?
Me: Yes, mixing buttercream is very tough.
Miss L: No I mean is it tough stains. I saw it on the telly. For tough stains you need something to put in the washing machine.
Me: ha ha, spluttering on my tea.

I had no idea she was picking up so much from adverts, she rarely even watches programming with ads.  So forget learning to count and write letters for now, we are going to start media education.  Here is an excellent list of five tips to create awareness of advertising and here is a fascinating snippet of research into three year old's brand awareness.  Would love to hear about other people's advertising/tv experiences.

Picture credit The Advertising Archive

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At 13 October 2010 at 11:18 , Blogger Liz@Violet Posy said...

It's amazing how quickly they pick up on adverts. My daughter is seven and recently I had to explain about photoshopping images to her as she wanted to know why everyone famous was so skinny! eeek!

Btw thanks for the lovely comment on mine, your header looks lovely x

At 13 October 2010 at 12:16 , Anonymous KATE said...

I still remember my little girk seeing a stain on her dress and saying - 'oh mummy we need vanny oxy acty. You know - the pink one' Yikes. Too much tv maybe?

At 15 October 2010 at 21:40 , Blogger Penny said...

Hi Liz
Thank you! When I get a minute I will have to pop back and remind myself how to make it just a little bit wider! Love your header too, I love buttons.
Understanding the use of photoshopping, now that is a really important lesson in media literacy ;)

At 15 October 2010 at 21:44 , Blogger Penny said...

Hi Kate
I don't think it matters how much they watch sometimes, they pick up on the bizarrest things. Surely kids should be getting dirty though, not worrying about how to get out stains! Acually I take that back, would love it if mine could keep something clean for more than an hour.

At 19 October 2010 at 21:55 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

your header is fab!

my two always tell me to use vanish - their must be a lot of washing powder adverts on boomarang and milkshake!

At 20 October 2010 at 12:19 , Blogger Kerryonliving said...

This is a good argument for parking your kids infront of cbeebies instead where there are no adverts at all. Or am I missing the point?....What do you mean they shouldn't be watching too much tv?... It's the only way I get to have a shower or go to the loo without an audience! :)

At 20 October 2010 at 14:14 , Blogger Penny said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 20 October 2010 at 14:17 , Blogger Penny said...

Thanks Northen Mum! Ah ha! I reckon it must have been Milkshake where mine picked up on the vanish ads. How mad is this though, our little ones telling us which brand of washing powder to use! Bad enough that the ads are so annoying and sexist, they've also squeezed pester power into them!

At 20 October 2010 at 14:24 , Blogger Penny said...

Hi Kerry
I have no problem with TV, I can't get through the day with a 1 and 4 year old without it. I think children's tv can be excellent. I think there's a place for ads too, some of them are really creative. I guess what I was exploring here is what kids make of ads and how they learn to process them.

At 8 November 2010 at 14:25 , Anonymous Kez bratt said...

LOL Jojo is also very concerned with tough stains!!! "Look mummy I've got a tough stain can I do the spray?"

At 8 November 2010 at 14:30 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Hello Kez
Aw how lovely to hear from you here, and on the most appropriate post! Hope you are good.


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