Even Infants Have a Range of Perceptions When They Watch Screens

Posted on August 5, 2020 at 8:00 am

We have just begun to explore the complexities and wide range of differences in the way individuals watch and respond to what we see on screens. A new study about babies shows that these differences are present at birth. While these study results are illuminating, it does not change my firm position of no screen time before age three and no more than an hour a day and no theatrical screens before age five.

Children’s own temperament could be driving the amount of TV they watch – according to new research from the University of East Anglia and Birkbeck, University of London.

Copyright 2009 Carolien Dekeersmaeker

New findings published today show that the brain responses of 10-month-old babies could predict whether they would enjoy watching fast-paced TV shows six months later.

The research team says that the findings are important for the ongoing debate around early TV exposure.

Lead researcher Dr Teodora Gliga, from UEA’s School of Psychology, said: “The sensory environment surrounding babies and young children is really complex and cluttered, but the ability to pay attention to something is one of the first developmental milestones in babies.

“Even before they can ask questions, children vary greatly in how driven they are to explore their surroundings and engage with new sights or sounds.

“We wanted to find out why babies appear to be so different in the way that they seek out new visual sensory stimulation – such as being attracted to shiny objects, bright colours or moving images on TV.

“There have been various theories to explain these differences, with some suggesting that infants who are less sensitive will seek less stimulation, others suggesting that some infants are simply faster at processing information – an ability which could drive them to seek out new stimulation more frequently.

“In this study we bring support for a third theory by showing that a preference for novelty makes some infants seek more varied stimulation.”

Using a brain imaging method known as electroencephalography (EEG), the research team studied brain activity in 48 10-month old babies while they watched a 40-second clip from the Disney movie Fantasia on repeat.

They studied how the children’s brain waves responded to random interruptions to the movie – in the form of a black and white chequerboard suddenly flashing on screen.

Dr Gliga said: “As the babies watched the repeated video clip, EEG responses told us that they learned its content. We expected that, as the video became less novel and therefore engaged their attention less, they would start noticing the checkerboard.

“But some of the babies started responding to the checkerboard earlier on while still learning about the video – suggesting that these children had had enough of the old information.

“Conversely, others remained engaged with the video even when there was not much to learn from it,” she added.

Parents and carers were also asked to fill in a questionnaire about their babies’ sensory behaviours – including whether they enjoyed watching fast-paced brightly-coloured TV shows. This was followed up with a second similar questionnaire six months later.

Dr Gliga said: “It was very interesting to find that brain responses at 10 months, indicating how quickly infants switched their attention from the repeated video to the checkerboard, predicted whether they would enjoy watching fast-paced TV shows six months later.

“These findings are important for the ongoing debate on early TV exposure since they suggest that children’s temperament may drive differences in TV exposure.

“It is unlikely that our findings are explained by early TV exposure since parents reported that only a small proportion of 10-month-olds were watching TV shows,” she added.

Elena Serena Piccardi, from Birkbeck, University of London, said: “The next part of our research will aim to understand exactly what drives these individual differences in attention to novelty, including the role that early environments may have.

“Exploration and discovery are essential for children’s learning and cognitive development. Yet, different children may benefit from different environments for their learning. As such, this research will help us understand how individualized environments may nurture children’s learning, promote their cognitive development and, ultimately, support achievement of their full potential.

The research was led by UEA in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London and Cambridge University. It was funded by the Medical Research Council.

‘Individual differences in infant visual sensory seeking’ is published in the journal Infancy on August 5, 2020.

 

 

 

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Not specified Parenting Preschoolers Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Common Sense Media: Tweens, Teens, Tech and Mental Health: A Generation Coming of Age in Crisis

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 4:21 pm

A new report from Common Sense Media examines the impact of the pandemic on the already-increasing levels of anxiety and depression among tweens and teens.

When the coronavirus pandemic upended our lives, it introduced new social distancing requirements, public health challenges, and social unrest. Almost overnight, school, social activities, and work were all pushed online. It’s too early to know the lasting effects of this radical shift in behavior. Instead, this report seeks to understand how best to reach adolescents who are disproportionately affected and most vulnerable, support them in digital spaces, and improve their mental health outcomes.

The in-depth literature review, combined with essays from leading experts, synthesizes what’s known about associations between digital technology use and adolescent mental health—and outlines what stakeholders can do to help.

Geoffrey Canada: The Digital Divide is a Bigger Problem Than Lacking Access
Jacqueline Dougé: Meeting Teens Where They Are
Sonia Livingstone: Parenting for a Digital Future
Jennifer Siebel Newsom: We Must Design Tech and Media Platforms with Kids in Mind
Lina Acosta Sandaal: The Burdens of the Latinx Family
Tiera Chanté Tanksley: Finding Peace During the Protests: Digital Wellness Tools for Black Girl Activists
Andrew Yang: Our Kids are Walking Around with Slot Machines in Their Pockets

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Parenting Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Roxana Hadadi on “Michael Clayton”

Posted on July 6, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Copyright 2007 Castle Rock
On Rogerebert.com the wonderful Roxana Hadadi writes about “the deserved anger” of “Michael Clayton,” a 2007 George Clooney film that seems even more timely today. Her gorgeous writing and illuminating insights make this a must-read.

A hypnotic thriller about a law firm’s “fixer” realizing that the agricultural company he’s defending is involved in a murderous conspiracy, Tony Gilroy’s “Michael Clayton” used George Clooney’s wounded eyes, Tom Wilkinson’s frenzied soliloquies, and Merritt Wever’s soft-spoken melancholy to wonder how much commercial corruption we could fall victim to, and how much blatant immorality we could tolerate. Lauded at the time for its unrelenting tension, its steady pacing, and its sharp script, “Michael Clayton” was a critical darling, topping numerous critics’ best-of lists and netting seven Academy Award nominations, including a win for Tilda Swinton for Best Supporting Actress.

In the years since, though, as various other lauded films from 2007 have been reassessed and reconsidered, “Michael Clayton” has faded from memory. It’s an undeserved dynamic, given that the film has so much to say about how skewed the relationship between American corporations and the people they’re supposed to serve really is—an imbalance that remains as drastic today as it was back in 2007.

The corporate world that “Michael Clayton” depicts is flimsily held together by favors and handshakes, rife with insults and threats. The workers trapped within it are beholden to a class structure that discredits and undermines them, overwhelms them with paranoia, and drowns them in debt. “What kind of people are you?” someone asks Clayton, aghast at the backstabbing and the deceit with which Clayton fills his days. How to fight against that, at the sacrifice of human lives for business interests? By playing dirty.

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Commentary Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Ten Years Later: The Finale of Lost

Posted on May 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm

No one knows Lost better than Jen Chaney, so there is no one better to look back on the finale, which disappointed many fans. It’s an unsovable problem; people who stuck with the show loved its ambiguity and puzzles. So, if the finale answered all the questions it would annoy fans. And if it didn’t, it would annoy them, too.For Vulture, Chaney writes:

Many people, myself included, appreciated the emotional way it wrapped up Lost’s story. If you go back and rewatch “The End” now, you may be surprised to learn you appreciate it too, especially if the one and only time you watched it was on the night of May 23, 2010.

I recently did that, and in connection with another story I’m writing, I convinced Lost showrunners and co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to rewatch it as well. It was the first time either of them had seen “The End” since it first aired, and it brought back what Cuse described as “a jumble of emotions.” He recalled parts of the finale as though he had just done it yesterday, while other moments he had completely forgotten. “I was a little, kind of, out of time,” he said….

They were especially moved by the events that take place in the flash-sideways, where, one by one, each major character is suddenly awakened to memories of the island, often when someone who also had been there touches them. “I got emotional watching that stuff because it felt like the characters were in a Lost reunion show that they didn’t know they were in,” Lindelof said. “It was like The Truman Show. It was like, ‘Oh, Jack, you were actually on this show called Lost where you had all these adventures on an island.’”

Those moments, in which physical contact sparks recollection of a life left behind, got me choked up for a similar reason. I was watching the characters flash back to their island existences, while I also was flashing back to my experience years ago of watching them live on the island for six seasons. But I got choked up for another reason, too: Aren’t we, at this moment, also living a little out of time? In the third month of quarantining, when we can barely recall what it felt like to live normal, unrestrained, mask-free lives, those scenes packed a whole different punch. I imagine that when we’re allowed to hug our friends again, the flood of what pre-pandemic life felt like will come rushing back, the same way island life did for Locke, Kate, Sun, Jin, Sawyer, Juliet, and all of the rest. It hurts to think about that because we’re still not there yet.

“I felt that the thematic intentions of nobody doing it alone — you need them and they need you — a lot of the emotionality of the themes was very poignant in this particular moment, when we’re all separated from each other by a pandemic,” Cuse said.

Looper’s version:

Mashable on Lost:

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Television Understanding Media and Pop Culture

ReFrame’s Stamp of Gender Equality and the Movies that Qualify

Posted on May 24, 2020 at 3:23 pm

Copyright 2018 Warner Brothers
You know how movies credits include an assurance that no animals were hurt in the making of the film? That is a certification that is independently verified and taken very seriously. If a bug is discovered in the studio, okay to kill it. If a bug is on screen, someone will be there to make sure it is alive and healthy when filming is over.

And now ReFrame has adopted that model to ensure that films are made with gender parity on and off screen. Watch for their new “stamp” in the credits, from “Bumblebee” to “Crazy Rich Asians” and “A Simple Favor,” Films already showing the stamp of gender equality are listed here.

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Gender and Diversity Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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