The development of technology and social media has had diverse outcomes, including the integration of children into the digital world. Some of the most apparent aspects to consider when analyzing the role media play in cultural learning and overall children’s lives are coming of age, freedom and independence, physical spaces, and socialization (Hoechsmann & Poyntz, 2012). One of the most interesting and evident results of children’s involvement in the world of digital media is a new adulthood scheme as children grow up faster, but, surprisingly, they remain young for a longer period in the digital space. Another dichotomy is related to privacy and independence. Children become independent online but are subject to an increased degree of surveillance. They are seemingly free to choose media and links, but their parents, and even authorities, can supervise their activity rather easily. Hence, although children feel more adult and independent, they remain under stricter control of their parents.
One of the peculiarities of modern cultural learning is the decline of physical spaces as children start preferring social media to parks and neighborhoods. This trend can have multiple adverse effects, including but not confined to health issues and due to limited physical activity. Socialization patterns are also undergoing considerable changes due to the development of media. On the one hand, children have a wide space for self-identification. Users find different ways to explore their selves and express their individuality. On the other hand, children become alienated from larger groups in their search for narrow circles of like-minded individuals. These changes in the way children develop provide certain opportunities but can also pose numerous threats that should be acknowledged and addressed.
Children have become active users of social media, and they use diverse platforms to create, circulate, collaborate, and connect. It is possible to examine the functions mentioned above by analyzing a video posted by and about children. The video features children who have specific interests and abilities they display and rather boast about (Ninja Kidz TV, 2018). Children create the artefact that conveys some of their messages. Clearly, the channel and all associated processes are created in collaboration with adults, but children are still co-creators. The people featured in the clip express their attitudes towards sports, girls-boys interactions, challenge, and other aspects. They are involved in the circulation as they definitely share links to this and many of their or other people’s videos on associated topics. The created artefact becomes a product that is shared and discussed. As mentioned above, collaboration is a part of the process as adults are involved. Children collaborate with each other, adults, and their peers to make the video they want.
Connectedness can be seen as the central idea behind participatory media culture. Children wish to be or rather feel connected, so they create a product to become a part of the culture through a popular platform. YouTube has become an important communication channel that keeps people connected. The children featured in the clip under discussion are connected as they share links and receive feedback. The primary type of feedback related to this video is the number of likes and dislikes. The involved participants evaluate viewers’ feedback through the number of likes and dislikes. Clearly, children also discuss the video through other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well.
Media have become an important channel and platform for educating younger generations. It is possible to consider the ways Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series could affect young viewers. The TV show is a completely entertaining product, but it is also an educational instrument. Educators could employ the entertainment education tactic to show teenagers and younger children different behavioral models and their outcomes. The TV series seems to have nothing to do with reality as the main character was a teenager killing supernatural villains, predominantly vampires. At the same time, the story was set in an ordinary neighborhood, and the protagonist had a team of her friends and a mentor who taught at their school.
In addition to her primary function, killing vampires, Buffy had to solve other issues such as making friends, doing the right things, taking up responsibility. This tactic of entertainment education aimed at encouraging the youth to think of their lives and the challenges they had to address. They could think of the behavioral patterns they viewed in the TV series and choose among those models. The TV show was effective in making girls more confident as they wanted to look and act like their role model, Buffy. Younge people were encouraged to do sports as they saw that the main character was strong and skillful in martial arts. Viewers also saw the relevance of learning as the team of vampire slayers could solve their puzzles through learning and exploration of the world. Young viewers did not feel they are being forced to follow some patterns, they felt they were making their choices. Therefore, entertainment education is an effective educational tactic.
Hoechsmann, M., & Poyntz, S. R. (2012). Media literacies: A critical introduction. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
Ninja Kidz TV. (2018). Girls vs boys gymnastics | Flexibility challenge [Video]. Youtube. Web.