Digital Research Project

This digital research project focuses on children’s access to, and consumption of digital devices and media, specifically social networking sites. I decided to approach week eights topic (Regulating audiences: what makes this spatial?) after revisiting, and familiarizing myself with each topic. I was curious to know how much time children and adolescents were spending online/on social media and how much of this activity was supervised – if at all- by parents. I questioned whether parents wanted to monitor their children’s activity online and keep track of their location, or if they’d feel – even in today’s tech-savvy world – that this is an extreme measure.

I identified app creators as being a potential stakeholder organisation interested in this kind of research topic. Given applications (apps) are a key feature of today’s digital devices, and the nature of the research (device & media use/access), I believed app creators to be an appropriate target. There are already a number of apps that currently exist, enabling parents to track their child’s location, media usage and conversations across a variety of digital platforms (Tan 2012). However, this research will provide genuine insight and the information required to customize an application that is different to those that currently exist. An app that requires both parties to consent, encouraging open and honest communication between parents and their children.

I began investigating the topic, searching for published opinions to establish some base knowledge that I could build on. I then conducted my own primary research, creating two surveys; one for children and adolescents, and one for adults. Based on the research results, I aimed to develop an understanding of the habits, behaviours and genuine concerns and attitudes regarding children’s access to, and consumption of, media and digital devices. I continued my secondary research, focusing on previously conducted studies and government data/statistics relevant to the topic.

It became apparent that people were less concerned with the media platform or the time spent using it, but rather the actual content children were being exposed to. Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (2008) states that ‘content is what determines whether the impact is positive or negative’ and suggest a number of ways to ensure children’s use of media is a positive experience.

The research conducted and design of this project was intended to interest the potential stakeholders and stimulate meaningful discussions and change amongst a large audience. I have attempted to capture the audience’s attention in the first three slides using simple, thought provoking text, complimented by slow emotive music. Slide four suddenly cuts through the music and text with white noise; illustrating how quickly something unexpected can pop up with the click of a button. The remaining slides are mostly informational as they present facts and figures uncovered by the two surveys. Slides five to seven include the findings from the children and adolescent survey: ‘Youth Media Consumption 2014’. Slides eight, nine, fifteen and sixteen reveal the attitudes of parents and other adults from the second survey: ‘Youth Media Consumption 2014: Attitudes and Concerns’.

Although I am pleased with my final project and I feel that it has been successful, I know that it can be improved. Creating digital media isn’t my strong suit, so I struggled finding an appropriate platform that I could use to a certain level of efficiency. Even after coming to my decision, I did face challenges when I was trying to put everything together. I had so much information that I struggled to include all of my findings. This required a very selective process that saw a lot of content being cut out and left behind. In hindsight, I believe a different platform would have been more appropriate, however poor time management and health issues placed time restrictions on the completion of the project, not allowing enough time to make this change.

Upon completing this task, I’ve found I have gained a great deal of knowledge regarding children and adolescents use of media, and how their parents and other adults feel about it. I’ve discovered how time consuming and tricky audience research can be and have developed a newfound respect for anyone who works in this field and that of digital media or graphic design.

Although I think my project could be improved, I do believe I’ve done well to create a cohesive project that ensures a good fit between the idea, presentation and stakeholder.

Please click here to view the presentation.

Reference List:

Tan, K 2012, Top 5 Mobile Apps To Keep Your Kids Safe, hongkiat.com, viewed 26th October 2014, <http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/kid-safety-mobile-apps/&gt;.

Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs 2008, ‘Children and Electronic Media’, The Furture of Children, vol. 18,no. 1, pp. 1-2 viewed 28th November 2014, <http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/18_01_ExecSummary.pdf&gt;

Digital Project Reference List:

Australian Institute of Criminology 2011, Australian crime: Facts & figures, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra ACT, accessed 30th October 2014 < http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/0/B/6/%7B0B619F44-B18B-47B4-9B59-F87BA643CBAA%7Dfacts11.pdf&gt;.

Australian Institute of Criminology 2012, Australian crime: Facts & figures, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra ACT, accessed 30th October 2014 <http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/facts/2012/facts12.pdf&gt;.

Australian Institute of Criminology 2013, Australian crime: Facts & figures, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra ACT, accessed 30th October 2014, <http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/facts/2013/facts13.pdf&gt;.

Primary Research (surveys):

Survey Monkey:
‘Youth Media Consumption 2014’
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WSJ5TD5

Survey Monkey:
‘Youth Media Consumption 2014: Attitudes and Concerns’
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/S89G7V5

Music:

Dax Johnson – Merciful Dwelling

Sia – Breathe Me (Instrumental)

Time to Reflect

Nine weeks of blogging for BCM240 about media, audience and place, has come to an end. At the end of each blogging task it’s required that we comment and reflect on our work thus far, in some way, shape or form; so that is what I’ll be doing. I hope you agree with me!

At the conclusion of this semester I will have spent about two years blogging on and off for various university subjects. If it weren’t for uni, I don’t think I ever would have engaged with an online blogging platform like wordpress, which requires me to write for an audience and share my thoughts, opinions and findings on a variety of media topics.

So with that in mind, you might understand that I’m still kind of getting my head around the whole blogging situation. I think I’ve come a long way since I started in my first year and semester of uni, but I think there are still areas I need to improve; don’t worry, I’m workin’ on it.
Now I know design is important and I’m sure most people would agree with me when I say that time – hours – can fly by when in search for the right theme, layout, colour & font combination. Presenting my work in a way that is clear, simple and easy to navigate is important to me and I’ve tried to reflect this in my blog design. I don’t particularly like really dark colours or busy patterns so I’ve tried to keep it light and easy to interact with me by linking my twitter account and organizing blog posts by category and using #tagsss. Thus far, I’m pretty happy with my blog design, I’m sure a far more experienced blogger could improve the design, but for my level of experience and involvement, I’d give myself a pat on the back.

However, I probably will never be totally satisfied with my blog name. I’ve always been pretty terrible at thinking of titles for short stories, creative projects and group or trivia names… and my blog title and the title of my posts, are no exception. That kind of thing just isn’t really my forte, so when it comes to giving each of my blog posts a title, the struggle is real. I try to go with one of the first names that come to mind, to avoid overthinking the situation. Overall I think my efforts this session have improved on my attempts in previous subjects. On the topic of names – I’ve noticed many people have interesting blog titles whereas mine is quite simply my name. When creating a blog title I thought this was appropriate, after all it is a compilation of my thoughts and findings but I do wonder if my blog would benefit from having a quirkier name – probably, yes.

In terms of content, blogs require critical thought and analysis. I have attempted to engage with the audience by finding resources that are not only relevant but also interesting. I have made an effort to link articles that I believe add value to my argument, and include photos and videos as a visual aid to illustrate key ideas and support my opinion(s). I have been conscientious when analyzing texts and topics, ensuring my posts consist of original thought and included personal experiences and opinions in an attempt to connect with readers.

It has been brought to my attention that in some of my earlier posts, I failed to reference articles and it was suggested that I use more academic articles. In order to improve my blog and assist readers trying to access resources on topics of interest, I’ve ensured all that all the sources I’ve accessed and mentioned in my blog have been referenced correctly. Furthermore I’ve accessed academic blogs and articles in order to strengthen my arguments and provide an insight into the knowledge of professionals.

One thing I’ve particularly enjoyed about blogging for BCM240, is the weekly topics. Each of the topics relating to media, audience and space have been interesting and relevant to me, not only as a student and researcher of media, but as an ordinary 20-year-old female. I’ve often found myself discussing weekly topics with friends, telling them what I’ve discovered and interested to hear their opinions. If not for this subject, I wouldn’t be talking about these topics in the way that I do now and I wouldn’t be interested in learning more.

I particularly enjoyed writing and researching for my week two blog post, ‘TV? Ah, That Old Thing..’ as I was forced to interview someone close to me about their memories of TV growing up. Although my dad’s memory was a bit sketchy, I found the qualitative research really interesting and would never have made the discoveries I did, if it weren’t for this subject.

I targeted my dad again for my blog post on broadband and the NBN – ‘Broadband has already changed my home. Bring on the NBN’ – and I found his opinions regarding the two, interesting and insightful. This topic also sparked an interest that I had forgotten all about. It had me searching the availability of the NBN in my area, friend’s areas, and considering how the change could affect my lifestyle.

Later weeks post’s touched on issues such as cinema attendance (‘Cinema’s Future’), multi-tasking (‘Multitasking: is it madness?’), and how we manage our time and devices in public spaces (‘Would you be my subject?’). I found each of these topics particularly relatable as I am a culprit of many of the poor habits/behaviours discussed in our weekly lectures and tutorials. These discussions caused me to consider my decisions, behaviours and how I interact with media and devices in both public and private spaces, and question whether they are acceptable. Often I’ve concluded that I am comfortable with the way I currently act, however it has made me more conscious and class discussions and individual research will cause me to make informed decisions about my use of media and devices both in public and private places.

Media Regulation and Children: How much is too much?

As the youngest of five children, I don’t recall a great deal of regulation surrounding my use of media and devices. I don’t think I was ever allowed to watch TV in the mornings before primary school, but that’s mainly because my brother and I would mess around for too long and there wouldn’t be enough time. The Simpsons was fairly off limits, but not because of the content, simply because my mum thought it was a stupid show and didn’t want to have to watch it. Dad on the other hand loved the Simpsons, so if we were home with dad and mum wasn’t around to watch TV, there was no stopping us. Our afternoons were generally spent playing but we would often watch TV as well, as I don’t recall our TV hours being restricted.

At school, games and certain websites were blocked, so our access was fairly restricted. As I got older, I began using the Internet at home; by the age of 10 I was using MSN to chat with friends who I’d just spent all day with at school. I suppose my time on the internet was regulated as our computer was in a communal area of the home and shared between three, so my hours were restricted. When I was in year eight, I got my own laptop which lived in my bedroom so I think it’s fair to say from this point onwards – there was no regulating my online activity.

I suppose it varies from family to family and depends on the setting – home, school, friend’s place – as to how our media consumption and use of devices is regulated. Today with the strong presence of technology and numerous devices making access to media so much easier, it is even more difficult to regulate children’s access to, and use of, media and devices. The age at which children are getting their first mobile phone and access social media sites, seems to be getting younger and younger. My 10 year old niece for example, has her own Facebook account, Instagram and mobile phone – who knows what else! I do know however, that when she first created a Facebook account, she wasn’t allowed to use it, unless under the watchful eye of mum. I assume now that she has her own mobile, things have changed but I say her time on the computer and access to applications would be regulated to a certain extent.

I believe it is important to regulate children’s access to social media and other online platforms as the Internet can be a dangerous place for young, vulnerable people. Furthermore, I think it is important for children to have mobile phones for emergencies and safety reasons, however I think while still in primary school, mobile phone use should be regulated. With over 12million Australians now owning a smartphone (ACMA 2014), children with these phones have the potential to access anything at anytime. When I was in primary school, my brother and I would share a mobile, however there were regulations surrounding its use; it was only for emergencies.

Whilst I strongly believe in regulating children’s use of devices and media access, I also think they deserve some privacy and it is important to know the boundaries. A new app available on android and iPhone, TeenSafe, enables parents to monitor their child’s text messages (even those that have been deleted), Facebook and Instagram activity, without their child even knowing! Although How Life Works (2014) talks up the new app, claiming ‘TeenSafe could be your way to safely and anonymously observe them [your child] without being a helicopter parent. Gee, because I’d much rather my parents sneaking around behind my back and stalking my activity as opposed to actually talking to me about my decision.Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 9.38.07 pm

In my opinion, these kinds of measures are taking regulation of children’s access and use of media and devices too far. It makes me uncomfortable, its an invasion of privacy and I just think it’s wrong. Let me know what you think. Do you think parents and guardians need more applications and tools to monitor and help regulate their children’s access and use of the media and their personal devices?

Reference List:

ACMA Editor 2014, m-Commerce: Mobile transactions in Australia, Research Snapshots, blog post, 24th June, viewed 8th September 2014, <http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/engage-blogs/engage-blogs/Research-snapshots/m-Commerce-Mobile-transactions-in-Australia&gt&gt;.

How Life Works 2014, How to Spy on Your Kid’s iPhone or Android Text Messages, How Life Works, viewed 28th September 2014, <http://www.howlifeworks.com/technology/How_to_Monitor_Teens_Online_and_Texting_Activity_to_Keep_Them_Safe_701?ag_id=1236&wid=F14D5522-75BB-43C6-BA84-97B07EAB380D&did=132&cid=1005&si_id=4569&pubs_source=mpt&pubs_campaign=20140430-1236&gt;.