Sunday, 31 August 2008

Parents' sites

The trend for targeting parents alongside children continues, with Disney's launch of a social networking site for parents - 'Disney Family Community'. What better way to tie the whole family into Disney products? There is also a parents' site on Yahoo! Kids. What a shame, then, that it plays into the deficit discourses around media, stating:

'Media immersion absolutely affects our kids' physical health. It contributes to obesity, eating disorders, attention deficit disorders, addictive behaviors, and declining levels of fitness. There's a direct link between hours of media consumed and calories consumed.'

It is not helpful to confuse correlation with causation in this way in advice for parents. Hopefully parents will take a broader view and find other sites more helpful for considering issues relating to children and media. One, then, to avoid is 'Unplug your kids', in which a parent provides advice on activities with children who don't have access to television or computer games. Ironic, then, that she seems to have all the fun taking digital photos of the activities and uploading them to her blog...

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Digital Radiohead

As a Radiohead fan, I like to hear about the band's engagement with all things digital, such as their support of the Aniboom competition in which people created animated music videos of Radiohead songs. The Aniboom community identified a shortlist and then the band chose the winner. Actually they chose 4 winners in the end, details here. My own favourite to win was Reckoner. There is also a fabulous video in which you can interact with a digital image of Thom Yorke's head, which is fun, although a little distracting in relation to listening to the song itself! Its production involved some fancy technology which is explained here - you can access the video itself from this page.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

More CP mash-ups

I have been interested in Club Penguin machinima for some time, but in the past weeks have become aware of Club Penguin collages – mainly because as I have been peering over the shoulders of my nieces as they play on the site, I have observed penguins standing in the town square shouting ‘Collage at my igloo on the map!’ Collages consist of a series of elements that are either used singly or juxtaposed together, including still images, sections of film (created using screen capture software), overlaid text and music. I have pasted examples at the side of this post and below. Technically easier to assemble than machinima, they enable CP users to recreate favourite CP moments or entice visitors, keen to feature their avatars in the collages, to the producers’ igloos. These are good examples of what Colin Lankshear calls the ‘stuff of new literacies’.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Clubbing it again

Well, with my three of my nieces and a nephew having just descended on us for 10 days, I doubt I will get much time to blog; I will be too busy watching them whizz about in Club Penguin, amongst other things. As I am also observing other children (not related to me) using 'Club Penguin' in a research project I am in the middle of, I will be penguined out in a few weeks, no doubt! So I will leave you with a bit of a lengthy read – the report of the House of Commons' Culture Media and Sport Committee on Harmful content on the Internet and in video games’. The usual stuff, although I note with interest the committee, drawing heavily on the Byron Report, calls for tighter self-regulation by the industry rather than top-down regulation. Sara Grimes always has very interesting things to say about the industry’s attempts at self-regulation and I recommend her blog for those of you interested in this area. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch a penguin dance contest!