s

340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Do you know where your child is?

Hopefully, watching tonight's season premiere of Battlestar Galactica. Their youth will otherwise have been woefully misspent.


* * *

Unless you believe the University of Washington, in which case you'd better wait until your child is at least three before blessing them with healing cathode-tube rays.

On July 5th, BBC News reported in their 'Health' section that "TV 'may stunt toddlers' learning'."

(...) the Washington University team found each hour of average daily TV viewing before the age of three had a negative effect on scores in mathematics, reading recognition and reading comprehension in later childhood.
No surprises there, really. TV doesn't become an interactive medium until one is old enough to actively engage with the programming (via contextualization, counter-narrative, etc.) and toddlers need interactive stimulation. Ergo...

But it's the next bit that caught my attention:

(...) TV viewing among children aged three to five appeared to be beneficial - at least for reading recognition and short-term memory skills (...)
I'm curious as to why it's less harmful after the child turns 3--do media-literacy skills develop that early? Are they more likely to engage with what they're watching? The mention of "short-term memory skills" leads me to think that perhaps it's got something to do with the rapidly-changing situations and images present in most programming. Being forced to make so many cognitive leaps in so short a time might increase situational memory.

But what about advertisements? Television programming specifically for young'uns may be designed for their sensitive eyes & ears, but have you seen some of the ads (esp. cars & beer) running right now? They assault the viewer with booming noise, grating music and hyperkinetic visuals. That kind of overstimulation can't be good for developing sensory organs.

At least Battlestar uses a nice 'muted thunder' sound for the port and starboard autocannons--it's not at all harsh on the ears.

* * *

Female Score: 298
Male Score: 487
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

14 Comments:

  • At 4:51 PM, Blogger Pacanukeha said…

    I call bullshit. Inappropriate use of the word "interactive." You are appropriaing it and twisting it to your own meaning you disempowering bastard! As I was saying ... all perception involves contextualization - interaction invlolves being offered and then making choices which affect the outcome of the activity in a real and immediate way.

     
  • At 5:03 PM, Blogger lucky said…

    I'm rubber and you're glue...

    An infant who watches television isn't contextualizing the images and sounds within a larger cultural framework--they're unaware of culture (which is not to say unaffected by it). We're talking about pre-literate toddlers here.

    [haughty]
    With regards to interactivity: I dismiss your narrow definition, sir.
    [/haughty]

    I submit that by viewing critically and interpolating the input via developed media literacy skills, one does affect the outcome, insofar as the individual impact is altered.

    As evidence, I offer Last Man Standing, a movie which is only elevated above the mediocre if you see Willis' character as a Euthanatos Mage nearing the end of a particular life cycle (and whose journey is continued in Jarmusch's powerful Dead Man--intercontextuality, whee!).

     
  • At 6:52 PM, Blogger Pacanukeha said…

    By your definition, all sentient experience is interactive. Motion is denied, author is remanded back to pre-school.

     
  • At 6:55 PM, Blogger Pacanukeha said…

    I submit that you are using "interactive" when a better (or, in fact, correct) word would be "interpretive".

     
  • At 7:00 PM, Blogger lucky said…

    No, by your mis-interpretation of my definition, all sentient experience is interactive.

    I refer you to my initial response, to wit:

    "(...) by viewing critically and interpolating the input via developed media literacy skills (...)"

    When there is a give-and-take (even if it exists within the confines of the audience's mind), that constitutes interactivity.

     
  • At 7:02 PM, Blogger steenblogen said…

    Now, now boys. You're actually BOTH right - just coming at the semantics from different discursive positions.

     
  • At 7:05 PM, Blogger lucky said…

    As usual, you're the cool head of reason.

    I'm willing to acknowledge a draw based on different contextual spaces and a priori assertions if he is.

     
  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger Pacanukeha said…

    Hey! Steenblogen! Back off, he's got some 'splainin' to do.
    "When there is a give-and-take (even if it exists within the confines of the audience's mind), that constitutes interactivity."

    See, that is just plain wrong. You are interpreting the work. Interactivity requires give-and-take between you and an exterior agent.

     
  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Pacanukeha said…

    Emphasis on the exterior and agent. Oh, and "action"

     
  • At 7:10 PM, Blogger steenblogen said…

    Okay, okay...I bite my tongue. It's fun to sit back, relax, and watch this all go down anyway!

     
  • At 7:15 PM, Blogger lucky said…

    Emphasis on the--?! Dude, television is not an agent.

    Furthermore, critical engagement with media does constitute interactivity. Otherwise, you're simply leaving the viewer in the position of empty vessel, a boob 'fore the tube. I don't buy that.

     
  • At 7:24 PM, Blogger Pacanukeha said…

    "television is not an agent."

    QED

     
  • At 7:25 PM, Blogger Pacanukeha said…

    "Furthermore, critical engagement with media does constitute interactivity. Otherwise, you're simply leaving the viewer in the position of empty vessel, a boob 'fore the tube. I don't buy that."

    I agree with that. Except for your use of the word "interactivity" - substitute interpretation and we have a deal.

     
  • At 7:58 PM, Blogger lucky said…

    Nope.

    What I will do is accept that our disagreement is premised--as usual--on a semantic distinction and that vociferously splitting hairs, while entertaining, isn't productive.

     

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