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CMC: Day 3 – “Weird Science”

(Elaica Zayas) Last day of the Children’s Media Conference! Sad to say that this conference in the lovely city of Sheffield has come to an end. There were a few sessions today beginning at 9:30. The session that was most interesting to me today was, “Weird Science.” The session was led by Dr. Simon Moore, Psychologist and Insight director at InnovationBubble, and Jacqueline Harding, founder and director of Tomorrow’s Child.

I was most intrigued by Jacqueline Harding’s half of the session. She began explaining what she’s done with her career. She was a primary teacher, an author of children’s and adult books, a government consultant, a successful career as BBC education editor, and then started her own specialized children and parenting film production & media research company called Tomorrow’s Child. Jacqueline was so passionate in her presentation about children’s reactions and body language when watching shows and films. She explained that children live in the moment. In these creative moments children react to scripts. She showed photos of a study she did on a group of children to test how they react to schemas. Children are biologically wired to watch and engage with schematic moments. In her photos you are able to see the children’s reactions to things they are viewing on television. Children can’t help but use their bodies to express what they feel.

She also began talking about children’s engagement with the media. Children identify with the characters. The media allows children to transport themselves in that particular narrative. She explained through a video clip of a cartoon called “Bing,” that children do not need an entire sequence to understand what is happening, but in the small moments they are able to understand and engage. I would love to learn so much more about the psychological insight, engagement and neuroscience in children’s media. I’ve just always been interested in exploring the minds of people and children just seem like such a fascinating group to study. It’s fascinating that young children who have developing minds are able to engage and interact with media and understand what they are watching. They are able to feel with the characters of these films and shows. This session I was immediately brought back to my Media & Children course and the child development theories we learned, specifically the schema theory. Children are able to understand and comprehend situations because of the media they are consuming.

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