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CMC: “Out of the Mouths of Babes”

(Danielle Vallely) The last day of the conference I attended a discussion in the cinema building that focused on the issue of media abuse. There are a variety of factors that come into play with regards to monitoring children throughout the media world. It is quite interesting that the dominating media site for young children, YouTube, has neglected to truly provide appropriate surveillance for children’s’ viewing. Children at anytime can access YouTube and watch billions of videos, some providing educational content, while others are intended for a more mature audience. The Internet is a vast and complex stream that children cannot fully grasp, so the question comes into play: Can the Internet take things too far?

A recent social media application, Mind Candy, was created to direct children to a safer form of social networking. Everything published throughout this app is public, however the company purchased software that monitors what children are saying throughout the site. It is a social media site that provides a safe environment for children. Sites like this are incredibly crucial in a young child’s life because human relations are truly the basis of society. This is why Facebook has grown so popular; it provides a communication link for people all over the world.

The Mind Candy app is a great way to protect children, however it does not resolve the ongoing dilemma. More adult designed sites including: Facebook, YouTube and Instragram, all still grab the attention of young children. The problem is that children are not searching for these more mature sites, they stumble upon them unknowingly.

This discussion led to numerous comments stating that parents play a huge role in monitoring their children’s Internet usage. This is a fair and accurate statement to make, however it is impossible for parents to be around their children twenty-four hours a day.  This is why the pressure needs to be placed on the distributers of these media outlets. These distributors are responsible for putting the content out to the public, so simply incorporating some form of regulation on children needs to be added.

Katalin Lustyik explains that one third of the world’s population is made up of people under the age of eighteen and their primary source of entertainment is through the media (Do We All Live in a Shared World Culture? – Chapter 6). The media is a global linkage and can be used for strong educational value. However, the pace at which the Internet was created was so fast, that no one truly had a chance to take a step back and examine how to reduce the harms that can occur throughout the media with children. This discussion in a way played the blame game. No one can honestly pin point who to blame for the media’s affect on children. However, the one thing that remained consistent throughout the discussion is that everyone needs to start working harder.

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