The younger audience : children and broadcasting in New Zealand

Walters, Reece & Zwaga, Wiebe (2001) The younger audience : children and broadcasting in New Zealand. Childrenz Issues : Journal of the Children's Issues Centre, 5(2), pp. 33-38.

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The role and influence of media in the The lives of children are ongoing sources of public, political and academic debates. These debates move back and forth along a care-control continuum (Cohen, 1997), and reflect a commitment both to educate children and to regulate their media experiences.

Rapid advancements in computer technologies have vastly expanded the range of media experiences available to children. The development of Internet information and the rapid expansion of channels as a result of digital television have created increasingly accessible and diverse sources of media for children. These media are instantaneous and, in some circumstances, constantly available. As a result, a substantial body of international research has emerged that examines the influence of media consumption on children. How much time do children spend interacting with media? What sorts of media do they access? Are media harmful or beneficial to children? If so, in which contexts? Do media influence children’s personal development? And what role should governments, broadcasters and independent producers play in the regulation of the media? These questions remain central to contemporary debates about children and the media.

This paper examines current patterns of television and radio consumption by New Zealand children in the context of household and peer environments. It explores parental attitudes towards and responsibilities for the protection of children in relation to broadcast media. The paper also aims to provide children with a voice by exploring their views about media content, and how they feel about the controls and regulations currently placed on their media consumption.

Children do not constitute a unitary social category. They comprise a disparate group with diverse cultures and styles that must be examined from within. Rather than treating and studying children as inferior and underdeveloped beings, it is important to identify children as individual social actors (Smith, Taylor & Gollop, 2000). Children are often viewed as passive, invisible and irrational. However, a growing body of scholarship recognises that children are a heterogeneous group with valid and meaningful life experiences that must be accessed and analysed within specific cultural contexts (Burman, 1994; Atwool, 2000). In order to understand the media consumption habits of children and to explore issues of regulatory responsibility, it was essential to access children and their families. To this end, and within a New Zealand context, this paper enters relatively uncharted waters. To date, there are no other comprehensive New Zealand-based research projects that specifically identify the attitudes and behaviours of children in relation to broadcast media, and broadcasting standards.

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ID Code: 71089
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
ISSN: 1174-0477
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Deposited On: 07 May 2014 04:59
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 14:37

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