Roku Channels

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There is no doubt in the minds of many people that Roku is the unrivaled leader among the many types of streaming media providers on the market today. They offer more channels than any other streaming media provider. Of all the providers that offer streaming media to your TV, the number one undisputed leader would have to be, Roku. This is because they have so much to offer when it comes to movies, TV shows, sports, and music.

With hundreds of channels available, you are guaranteed to have a variety of programming to choose from. You’ll be able to choose from public channels or private channels and we’re not talking about low quality channels. With the Roku streaming player you will have access to the some of the best channels that are out on the market. For those that love movies, all the great channels are there for you to access such as: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackel, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and many others.

Movies & TV

The Roku media player brings together a large selection of categories for you to choose from. Users can choose from Movies & TV, Sports, News & Weather, Music, Web TV, and many other popular categories. These channels offer tons of excitement. Most of the channels, as well as many others are available in high definition, making a better way to watch your favorite entertainment.

Sports

Movies and TV shows is not the only entertainment available for you to enjoy. This powerful little box also provides exciting sports content. Hockey fans that have NHL GameCenter Live subscription can access their favorite team and enjoy on demand broadcasts on their TV in HD. Other subscription packages available are the NBA game time and MLB. Plus many other FREE sports channels for any die hard sports fan to enjoy.

Games

The latest category to be added to the feature category channels is games. Yes, it’s true now there are games channels for you to access. They are proud to offer you a rich variety of some of the best games available. Some of the most popular games include, Angry Birds, Galaga, Texas Hold’em, Sudoku, and Jeopardy. Plus they are also constantly adding new game channels to their impressive collection.

There is much to like about this streaming player. By having access to Roku channels you will always have some kind of entertainment to keep you entertained. There is no denying that this is the best when it comes to streaming the best in entertainment.

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Media Addiction Quiz for Teens: Do TV, Video Games and Computers Run Your Life?

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Welcome to “The Media Generation”

Teens are spending so much time watching TV and playing with their computer and video games that the Kaiser Family Foundation has dubbed this generation “The Media Generation.”

The recent study found that children aged 8-18 were watching TV, playing video games, on their computers, and listening to music for a total of 6 hours and 23 minutes EVERY DAY! Many kids were doing two or more activities at once. Most of this time is still spent watching TV. Kids spent almost four hours every day watching TV. With so much time in front of   TV  and other  media , perhaps Kaiser should have labeled it “The Media-Addicted Generation.”

What excess TV, video game, and computer use may be doing to you

How much time you spend in front of a TV, video, and computer screen is important, because these activities have been linked to obesity, attention problems (like ADHD), and poor grades. Violent content may condition you to accept violence in your life. The sexual content of many popular shows and games may encourage you to experiment before you are ready. The TV can act as a depressant, stifle your creativity, encourage conformity, and simply waste your valuable time.

Find out if you are part of “The Media-Addicted Generation”:

1. Does your family have more than one TV set? Yes [] No []

2. Are you in front of a screen for more than 2 hours per day?Yes [] No []

3. Do you sometimes have trouble getting TV or video game

jingles “out of your head”? Yes [] No []

4. Is there a TV/video game/computer playing in your

home much or all of the time? Yes [] No []

5. Do you have a TV, video game, and/or computer in your

bedroom? Yes [] No []

6. Is it easy for you to turn off the TV/video game in the

middle of a favorite show/game? Yes [] No []

7. Do you ever rush home, ditching friends and family, to

catch a favorite TV show, play video games, or go on the

computer? Yes [] No []

8. Do you frequently eat meals while in front of the TV,

video games, or computer? Yes [] No []

9. Have you ever caught yourself unintentionally mimicking

a TV or video game character? Yes [] No []

10. Do you talk to and play with your friends more than you

watch TV, play games, and play with computers? Yes [] No []

11. Can you turn off the TV, computer, and video games OFF

right now and leave them off for three days? Yes [] No []

12. Do you ever mindlessly surf through TV channels or

the internet? Yes [] No []

13. Do you need TV, video game, or a computer to relax after

a rough day? Yes [] No []

14. Do you feel edgy, anxious, or “not right” if there is no TV,

video game, or a computer playing? Yes [] No []

15. Do you watch TV, play video games, and/or play on the

computer more than spend time with your family? Yes [] No []

16. Do you ever watch the TV, play video games, or surf

the internet longer than you intend to? Yes [] No []

17. Do you feel spend too much time with TV, video games,

or computer? Yes [] No []

18. Have you missed a special event with friends or family

because you were watching a TV program? Yes [] No []

19. Have you ever tried to quit watching TV, playing video

games, or going on computer, but were unsuccessful? Yes [] No []

20. Do you have difficulty limiting the time you watch TV,

play video games, or go on the computer? Yes [] No []

*Note: Time spent on the computer for homework purposes does not count:

To calculate your score:

For all questions, except for #6, #10, and #11, give yourself 1 point for every “Yes” answer and 0 points for every “No”. For questions #6, #10, and #11 give yourself 0 points for every “Yes”, answer and 1 point for every “No”. Add your total.

Your total: ____________

Scoring:

0-6: Great! Your TV, computer, and video games are not in control of your life. You are. But keep an eye on how much time you spend with these activities to make sure an addiction does not sneak up on you.

7-14: You are moderately addicted to your TV, video games, or computer. Maybe all of them. The good news is that with a little effort, a list of fun non-screen activities, and a reasonable schedule you should be able to keep your addiction under control. “The TV-FREE System” also helps you create a schedule that keeps you busy with fun, goal-centered activities. Follow your dreams instead of staring at a screen..

15-20: Oh dear. You probably have a serious addiction problem. You may need to take extreme steps, including getting rid of your TV or video games, to get in control of your time. Start with the device which squanders the most of your time. The good news is “The TV-FREE System” was designed to help even the most serious addict, and can be used for video game, or computer addiction as well.

Life is too short to “watch” it go by.

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Media Series: Issue 5 – Television Advertising

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Overview of TV

Television is the big dog when it comes to media dollar expenditures. There are a number of reasons for this but the obvious one is that more people spend more time in front of their TVs than any other media source. For hitting the masses, there is really no better opportunity from a media standpoint than TV. In short, TV has a proven track record of getting to consumers and shaping their behavior.

Upside of TV

Some of the upside I mentioned above, but there are a number of very good reasons why TV advertising can be advantageous.

  • TV gives you instant credibility. Consumers just seem to believe things they see on TV.
  • The ability to combine sight, sound and motion adds dimension and realism to your advertising campaign.
  • Through program selection, you can target your audience pretty effectively.
  • No medium offers greater mass global impact. Depending on your budget, TV has almost unlimited reach and a high percentage of people have more than one TV.
  • The creative opportunity is larger for TV. If you have the cash, you can take a camera anywhere and create incredible presentation.
  • Since it is generally a leisure activity, consumers spend a lot of time in front of a TV and they have the ability to immediately act on many buying impulses.

Downside of TV

TV advertising is not without its pitfalls, though, and any one of you reading this could list off some of the reasons as easily as I could.

  • To really hit the masses, broadcast TV is best and commercial spots are very, very pricey. Cable offers more affordable options but then you don’t hit the masses as well.
  • Research shows that you need significant repetition (at least 5-7 viewings) for your message to sink in. To get 5-7 viewings, you need to be on a lot more than that. Pricey.
  • Before you even buy commercial spots, you need to spend significant dollars to create a high quality ad. You can do it for less but generally not very well.
  • Much like radio, your commercial spot comes and goes and when it’s out of sight it falls out of mind. That is, unless you buy more spots.
  • As a rule, people don’t want to watch commercials. The turn on the TV to watch the program. With more and more channels available, it’s easy to skip the commercials.

Main Thing To Know About TV Advertising

Television is the largest target of media dollars for a reason and it’s attractive for a lot of reasons. My problems with TV are that it is very expensive (when done properly) and it’s somewhat inefficient no matter how well you do it. My advice is, if you have the brand and the budget to do it right, TV can be money well spent. You need to have a high quality ad, lots of repetition and the right commercial time. If you’re not sure you have the budget, then you don’t have the budget. You’re much better off not doing it than doing it poorly.

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TV and Media – Electric Fireplace

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The leading manufactures of the electric fireplaces have out done their selves with the invention of the  TV  and  Media  Consoles and the electric wall fireplace. These innovative styles and designs have opened up a new way to heat with style. With both of these designs being vent free electric fireplace, you will not have to worry about a chimney. Not remodeling that might require a roofer or the building contractor. This will help to keep the cost down if you are trying to remodel a room. The  TV  and  Media  Console and the electric wall fireplace are both great pieces of furniture that will add a new depth and interest to any room.

The  TV  and  Media  Consoles will allow for a place to place the TV and have plenty of shelves for your entertainment system. With plenty of shelves, some that are adjustable, you will have a location for the CD’s and the DVD’s. With the mantel designed to hold you TV, you could always hang a flat screen on the wall and use the shelf for other objects. To be able the hang a fireplace on the wall is surly something to talk about. Either of these two electric fireplaces will quickly become the focal point of any room.

Most of theses electric fireplaces will come with a remote. On certain models you may be able to control the flame brightness. Another great option will be able to turn off the heat but still have the fire on. The crackle that some of the electric fireplaces can also be turned off and on. The safety features have not been over looked on these electric fireplaces. The glass is cool to the touch so there is no worry if a small child is in the room.

There is nothing that can kindle thoughts of the warmth and cozy feelings like the electric fireplace can. If you imagine your friends and family sitting around a fireplace in your home, consider the electric fireplaces. The wood look will come in mahogany, cherry, pecan, walnut and oak electric fireplace. The black or white is also available. There is something to fit every type of room decor.

These very innovative designs of the major manufactures of the electric fireplaces have taken away the look of the old, ugly, metal boxed thing and has left us with a piece of furniture that we will be proud to show off. The units of today are more a work or art then the boxed heater that our grandparents might have stuck in the back room.

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How to Set Up the Multi-Media TV

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This article will explain how to connect your PC to a Big Screen TV, and experience the ultimate in HD picture and HD sound, using the existing PC outputs. The set up is actually very simple, and will most likely only require an additional minimal purchase of an HDMI cable to connect the PC to the TV. The HDMI (High Definition Modular Interface) cable will carry both HD sound and picture to your TV.

Before you begin, you will need to verify that the Motherboard on your PC has an outlet to plug in a second display. Most of the newer motherboards contain both VGA and HDMI outputs on the same board. You will also need to verify that your TV has an HDMI input.

To complete the installation, first install (1) end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI output on the back of the PC. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI Input on the big screen TV. Then, configure your PC for using dual monitors. To configure your PC using the MS -Vista O.S., Click on the Vista Start Logo, Click on Control Panel. Click on Personalization, Click on Adjust screen resolution. You should now see the Display Settings window with the existing computer monitor (labeled 1), and a second smaller monitor (labeled 2).

Located immediately below the monitor icons, you will see the drop-down selector box with both monitors listed. By default the number (2) monitor will be the Big Screen TV. Immediately below the selector, check the (2) boxes, This is my main monitor, and extend the desktop on to this monitor. Click OK and Close the window.

Now for an example, resize your I.E. browser window, so it is about half the size of your computer screen. Grab the top of the browser window, and drag it over to the other monitor. After dragging the window, you should now see the I.E. browser window open on your other screen(TV). Now the fun part! Go to one the new free movie sites like Hulu, and now you can watch the show on your big screen TV courtesy of your PC.

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What Is Smart TV?

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The very latest waves of Flat Screen Digital TVs hitting our shores this year are being marketed as “Smart TVs”. What does this mean, and what benefits do they have? Let’s try and explain this concept in a simplified manner.

First – A very quick history on TV evolution

Television technology has advanced rapidly over the years, progressing from the basic “Square” 4:3 Analogue CRT Tube. The introduction and sharp rise in popularity of DVD then saw the implementation of widescreen TVs to suit this format. As the trend towards viewing movies in widescreen digital became the standard, similar steps had to be made for day to day Television viewing. So the integration of digital set top boxes began, and our Television networks began to broadcast our TV programs in digital to coincide with that. As the public began to embrace the “cinema” experience, the next natural progression was larger screens, so Plasma, LCD and later LED panels were introduced. In the years that followed, besides obvious improvements in clarity, sound & design, the only major change made to TV technology was size – demand called for bigger and thinner TVs. Over the last year or so, the introduction of 3D Technology was the next “big-thing”, as well the call for more eco-friendly panels.

So we’ve seen TV’s develop from a bulky, square Picture Tube with a choice of five stations to view in analogue, to large, ultra-slim, Full High Definition panels capable of displaying 3D images, and a choice of over twenty channels broadcasting many programs in widescreen digital. Add to that a very sharp decline in price, and an ever increasing focus on environmentally friendly performance – we’ve certainly come a long way. So where to from here?

Introducing Smart TVs…

The internet is now a dominant part of our daily existence. Our mobile phones have now evolved from devices used just for making phone calls into “Smart-Phones” – basically mobile phones with internet accessibility. The same technology has filtered through to our TVs, and coined the phrase – “Smart TVs”. Today’s new waves of Smart TVs have a very large focus on online interactive media such as Internet   TV ,  media  streaming, social networking and web browsing. In a Similar way to how internet browsing, web widgets and software like games or applications are integrated in today’s smartphones, the same trend towards such connectivity has now become part of today’s TVs, creating a convergence between computers and Digital TV. Smart TVs allow viewers to search for and find movies, video clips and photos on the internet, stored on a home hard drive, through to your TV, using your remote control.

Smart TVs will eventually change the way we access media in our homes

This convenience will eventually change the way we access media in our homes, or more precisely, from where we access our media. One example would be not having to run down to our local video stores anymore just to rent a movie. By pressing a couple of buttons on our TV remote we suddenly have access to hundreds of movies available for streaming from the comfort of our lounge. Applications (or “Apps” as they are commonly referred to) add yet another facet for us to explore. There are a limitless number of apps that can be created. If you are an I-Phone user, you will already have encountered dozens upon dozens of ingenious applications that you now find hard to live without. There are apps for everything, ranging from live weather and news forecasts, to TV Show catch-up episodes, the latest sports news for your favourite team as well as live scores, and of course the whole social media forum such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These are now right at your fingertips, transforming TVs into a very diverse media network. The ability to Skype call is also an option, with the aid of a brand-specific Skype camera. While a small number of these features, in some form, have been available over the last year from some television manufacturers, in 2011 we will see the introduction of unrestricted web-browsing in some models. This opens up a limitless array of possibilities by transforming your TV into a fully functional web browser.

Smart TVs – Bringing the internet into your lounge room

There is a distinct advantage of not having to take the effort to boot up your PC, which is usually located in another room, to perform tasks such as purchasing items on eBay, checking your E-mail, or to Google something that has just taken your interest on TV. With large high definition screens, and web pages fully optimised to suit, there is certainly a distinct advantage in browsing the internet from the comfort of your lounge instead of through a little laptop screen or sitting at your computer desk. Even if you have photos, music, movies or video files stored on your home computer, you can access all of these wirelessly through your Home network and stream them directly to your TV.

So, in summary…

Smart TVs are the next generation of Flat Screen Digital Television, merging your TV and computer’s functionality into one.

With the ability to stream high definition movies, connect with your friends using Facebook and Twitter, stream TV Shows, and get instant access to news, sport and weather – all from the comfort of your lounge and on a large High Definition TV screen. Some of the higher end Digital TV models will offer built in web browsers – opening up unrestricted web browsing directly to your Television Set. As Plasma and LED Screens have evolved to become thinner, more energy efficient and providing us with stunning Full High Definition clarity. We now have a limitless array of media applications opened up to us, providing us with versatility and cross functional capability like we have never had before.

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Western Digital TV Live Review

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In this article I’ll be discussing the Western Digital TV Live, which is a media player that connects to your HD TV and allows you to play HD content in either 720p or 1080p resolutions.

The first thing you’ll notice about the WD TV Live is its size, it’s tiny. You wouldn’t think such a small device could pack such a big punch, but it does. The player comes with a remote control, and its necessary batteries, and also its power adapter. Unfortunately a HD cable isn’t provided, so you’ll have to source this elsewhere.

Once you’ve connected the device, and turned it on, you’ll notice a baby blue light on the front of the player to signify that it’s on. When you change your TV’s channel to the player’s channel, you’ll then notice the WD TV Live’s boot up screen. This is displayed for roughly a few seconds, and it then changes to the main menu, where you can choose from a host of options which include, video, music, photos and settings. The setting’s option allows you to customise your player experience, allowing you to change how files and folder are displayed, how and if your WD TV will connect to a network, the language selection etc. Selecting the music option takes you to the music menu, which allows you to open up files and folders which host any music files. The photo’s option takes you to the photo’s screen, and the video screen likewise.

You can connect your media to the WD TV Live player in a variety of ways, ranging from a USB stick which physically plugs into either or both of the media players USB ports, an external hard drive which connects to the media player via a USB cable, or a network connection. A network connection allows you to connect your WD   TV  live  media  player to your network, and stream any music and videos in real time. This is how mine is currently setup, and it works faultlessly, no skipping, pausing, just a smooth playback. I’ve also tested playing videos and music via a USB stick or an external hard drive, and this also worked perfectly. There is also the option of connecting the device to your network via a wireless USB stick, but only some USB sticks are compatible, so you’ll need to have a look at the product’s home page on the manufacturer’s website to ensure it’ll work correctly.

HD movies are displayed beautifully on the WD  TV  live  media  player, and you have a range of options during playback. You can choose whether to display the films built in subtitles, and if so, what language. You can pause the film at any moment, fast forward or rewind in single mode, x2, x4, x8 or x16, and you also have the option of skipping forwards or backwards in 10 minute intervals.

The WD  TV   media  player is a fantastic device which has worked faultlessly for me in my 6 months of ownership. It’s a perfect device for those who wish to add to their home theatre, and due to its size and slick appearance, it’s sure to look the part as well.

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Glorifying Social Media – When Television Met Twitter

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There is no denying the prominence of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter over the past couple of years. Although these social media platforms did not exist a decade ago, they are now firmly integrated into modern society. In fact, it is incredible how much our lives are influenced by social media. We not only communicate online, but we also “tweet” and “digg” and “bookmark” and “favourite” and share all kinds of content. Any event of interest, regardless how insignificant it may be, is almost guaranteed to be reported via multiple online avenues. Whether it is a tweet or a blog post or a viral video, the buzz spreads rapidly across the Internet. After all, we are the Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter generation – we live and breathe through social media.

In particular, the rise of social media brought upon an interesting phenomenon within the traditional media format. Recently, the world watched its first ever situational comedy inspired by a Twitter account. Crassly titled $#*! My Dad Says, the show features William Shatner as a cantankerous old man with a wide array of snappy one-liners, while his son records these remarks on the Internet. The actual Twitter account has almost two million followers; the sitcom premiere debuted to an audience of over twelve million viewers. Let those impressive numbers sink in first, and then you better realize that it was an anonymous old man – who would never have been famous without the Internet – drew this much attention and popularity.

At first, the concept of a Twitter account sounds laughably absurd – how could an actual television show sustain based on the random tweets of less than 140 characters? As it turns out, $#*! My Dad Says is no different from the standard laugh track comedies on CBS, complete with Shatner’s distinguished way of delivering a ha-ha punch line (or any line at all, really). Yet, it is the idea behind the sitcom that displays the most originality. Think about what the show has accomplished by its mere existence: a social media icon is being celebrated in network television! Can you imagine getting a TV show based on your disjointed thoughts online? Can you imagine being famous because of your Twitter account?

While Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter grow more dominant in our culture, it is becoming increasingly clear that social media has no boundaries anymore. Its influence extends beyond the Twitterverse or a primetime television show; it affects our modernity as a whole. This essay will analyze deeper into the seamless integration between social media and traditional media, as well as the unsettling repercussions of this recent pop culture trend.

The Facebook movie and the Twitter sitcom are just two recent examples among numerous success stories. Several high-profile entertainment bloggers have quit their day jobs so that they can become full-time online gossipmongers. HBO is in the works of producing a comedy called Tilda, featuring Diane Keaton and Ellen Page, about a fearsome blogger loosely resembling Nikki Finke. In addition, there are hundreds of minor Internet sensations made famous by their viral videos, and sometimes their fame extends to lucrative opportunities in the entertainment industry. For example, that YouTube kid is on The Amazing Race with his father a few seasons ago. In fact, YouTube is like the hub of revolving online celebrities; their stardom fades in and out over time. Leave Britney alone, anyone?

Since a sizable portion of social media users belong to the younger demographic, it is no surprise that a number of youth-oriented programs feature social media into the show’s premise. For example, iCarly showcases three teens that discover the success of their webcast as they become online celebrities. Balancing the normalcy of adolescent life along with the abrupt Internet fame makes iCarly unique from the other television shows. Similarly, while the targeted demographic of Gossip Girl is aimed towards a slightly older audience, it showcases an anonymous blogger that spreads scandalous gossip on the Internet and how this inadvertently affects the lives of several privileged young adults. Gossip Girl covers the darker side of social media, where the online anonymity poses a threat to real-life privacy.

By promoting social media so heavily into television and film, the entertainment industry has sent a message that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are integral elements in our everyday lives. It seems that a Facebook account is even more significant than an e-mail address or a cell phone number. It seems that relying on Twitter updates and viral videos are more preferable than reading an actual news article. It seems that blog posts will revolutionize the journal industry sooner enough. As the number of television shows and films about social media increases, this trend indicates that we cannot function in society without some sort of social media platform or social profiling account. How else will you communicate with your acquaintances? How else will you manage your friendships and relationships?

I am in the school of thought that relying on any technological medium too much can lead to disastrous results. Social media may have eased our communication processes, but it also oversimplified our abilities to form coherent and insightful thoughts. After all, how profound can your tweets be if it only permits you 140 characters per message? And anyone who bothered to look at the comments section under a YouTube video, especially regarding controversial topics, can witness a wide array of banality. Even Facebook, with its frequent breach of privacy, has an unsophisticated system of categorizing your profile details, such as the “It’s Complicated” option for your relationship status. (Of course, they don’t care about what you put in your profile, as long as you are part of the demographic metrics for the prospective online advertisers. Single male in his thirties who uses Facebook a lot? How about clicking on the online dating site advert in the sidebar?)

Social media does not pose any life-threatening perils, although there are some incidents of online stalkers or worse, but we should still be informed about its obvious limitations as a communication medium. Don’t assume that social media is essential just because it is promoted everywhere in films and television shows. Do not misjudge its prevalence as a form of necessity. As consumers, as online users, and as human beings, we should take a critical look of social media as a form of the new traditional media. If these social media platforms are here to stay, where do we fit in? Are we satisfied with being defined as the Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter generation?

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45 Family Media Literacy Activities to Grow Smart Brains in a Digital Age – Help All in One Place

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What is “media literacy?” The word literacy connotes a high degree of competency and usually means that a person knows how to read and write. A literate person, on the other hand, is well read, using and applying high level thinking skills across a broad range of topics. Computer literacy means the capacity to use computers well. Media literacy, then, is the ability to use all forms of media well. A media-literate person uses television, movies, DVDs, computer and video games for specific purposes, just as a print-literate person reads a book or a magazine, a college text or a newspaper for specific, various reasons.

Using all visual screen technology intentionally is the first, and most important element in becoming media literate. Ultimately as parents we want children and teens to be in control of small screens and not be controlled by them. Research has verified and experts know that a child who mindlessly watches a lot of TV or plays video games endlessly is less equipped to develop the capacities for wise media use. A media literate child, on the other hand, would learn to self-monitor screen time-being able to take it in doses-rather than make a habit of it four-five hours a day ad nauseum. He or she would want to do other activities because thinking, creative children are curious beings and there’s a whole world out there to explore-screen technologies just being one small part of it.

While a print-literate person reads words; a media literate person reads images. Using analysis, evaluation, and higher level thinking skills, a media-literate person interprets the subtle messages and overt claims visual messages convey. This is where we want our children headed-in a direction of making it second nature to think well about all forms of media images.

If we boiled down media literacy for our children, I think we would find five basic skills that we would like them to acquire:

• Conscious, intentional, limited use of all forms of screen technology

• Ability to critique visual messages and understand their intent and intellectual and emotional impact

• Ability to communicate facts, ideas, and thoughtful opinions about media images

• A thorough understanding of media production techniques to fully appreciate how such techniques as camera angles, lighting, cuts, etc. impact the messages being delivered

• Ability to use all forms of screen technology purposefully, and eventually wisely

Children can enjoy becoming media literate. The 45 family media literacy activities are grouped as follows:

30 General activities that you can adapt and use with children or teens.

15 Activities for children, specifically designed for children, ages 3-6

30 General Family Media Literacy Activities

1. TV and books.

Keep track of the dates when a TV version of a book is scheduled to air and encourage your kids to read the book first, or follow up the program by suggesting they read the book afterwards. Great discussions can result from comparing the original book and the TV version.

2. Use TV to expand children’s interests.

Link TV programs with your children’s interests, activities, and hobbies. A child interested in crafts can watch craft programs for encouragement and ideas; after viewing a wildlife show, take the kids to a zoo and have them recall what they learned about animals from the TV program. How does the real life experience differ from the show they watched? Are there any similarities?

3. Time capsule.

Ask your child to imagine that he or she has been given the job of choosing five television programs that will be included in a time capsule, not to be opened for one hundred years. Discuss what type of society these shows might reflect to a child opening the time capsule one hundred years from now.

4. Different viewpoints.

All family members watch one program together. The TV is then turned off and each person writes a few sentences about their opinions about the show. Discuss and compare everyone’s opinions, pointing out to your child how different people will like or dislike the same program. Why are all opinions valid? Who had the most persuasive opinion about the show? Why?

5. Watch a TV show being taped.

Take kids to a television program taping either locally or as part of a family trip to New York or Los Angeles. To make the trip more meaningful, have your children draw the set, take notes on the format of the show, note the special effects, and talk about what it was like being in the audience. Is the audience important to the show? How? (It may be easier to visit a local TV or radio station. You could visit both and talk about the differences between them.)

6. Make up an alternate title.

When you’re watching a TV program or movie with your child, ask him or her to exercise imagination and think of another title. To get things rolling, suggest an alternate title yourself. All family members can come up with as many alternates as possible. Vote on the best. What makes it better than all the rest to convey the essence of the show or film?

7. Compare what you see with what you expect.

With your child, come up with a description of a show before watching it, based on what you’ve read in a TV schedule. Predict how the characters will act and how the plot will unfold. When the program ends, take a few minutes to talk about what you saw: Did either of you notice any differences between what was written in the TV schedule and what was actually shown? Were either of you surprised by anything you saw? Is the show what you expected it would be? Why or why not?

8. Which category does it fit?

Using a television guide, your child will list all the shows she or he watches, then divide them into the following categories: comedy, news, cartoons, sitcoms, dramas, soap operas, police shows, sporting events, educational programs, and documentaries. Which is her or his favorite category and show? Why?

9. Predict what will happen.

During commercial breaks, ask your child to predict what will happen next in the program. You can discuss such questions as: If you were the scriptwriter, how would you end this story? What do you think the main characters will do next? Is it easy or difficult to guess the main event in this program? Why or why not?

10. The guessing game.

Turn off the volume but leave the picture on. See if your child can guess what is happening. To extend this into a family game, have everyone pick a TV character and add his/her version of that character’s words.

11. Letter writing.

Encourage your child to write letters to TV stations, describing why s/he likes and dislikes certain programs. Emphasize that giving factual and specific information will be helpful.

12. Be a camera operator.

Have your child experiment with a video camera to learn how it can manipulate a scene (omission-what it leaves out; selection-what it includes; close-up-what it emphasizes; long shot-what mood it establishes; length of shot-what’s important and what’s not).

13. Theme songs.

Help your child identify the instruments and sound effects used in the theme songs of his favorite shows. Have her sing or play the music in the show and explain what the music is doing. Does it set a mood? How? Does it tell a story? How does it make him/her feel?

14. Sequence the plot: a game.

To help your child understand logical sequencing, ask her to watch a TV show while you write down its main events, jotting each event on a separate card. At the completion of the program, shuffle the cards and ask your child to put them in the same order in which they appeared during the program. Discuss any lapses in logical sequence.

15. A time chart.

Your child will keep a time chart for one week of all of her activities, including TV watching, movie watching, and playing video games. Compare the time spent on these activities and on other activities, such as playing, homework, organized sports, chores, hobbies, visiting friends, and listening to music. Which activities get the most time? The least? Do you or your child think the balance should be altered? Why or why not?

16. Winning and losing.

Tell your child to watch a sports program and list all the words that are used to describe winning and losing. Encourage a long list. You can make this into a friendly competition, if you like, with two or more children collecting words from several sports programs and then reading them aloud.

17. TV and radio.

While watching TV coverage of a sports game, turn off the TV sound and have your child simultaneously listen to radio coverage. What does your child think about the radio coverage? About the TV coverage? What are the strengths of each? The weaknesses?

18. Quiz show comparison.

Compare and contrast the wide variety of game and quiz shows with your child. You’ll see shows that test knowledge, shows that are based on pure luck, and shows that are aimed specifically at children. Which are your child’s favorites? Why?

19. TV lists.

Assist your child in making lists of all television programs that involve hospitals, police stations, schools, and farms, and all television programs that contain imaginative elements, such as science fiction shows or cartoons.

20. Television vocabulary.

Challenge your child to listen for new words on TV and report back to the family on their definitions.

21. Critical viewing survey.

Ask your child to watch one of his favorite programs with you. Afterwards, you will both fill out the following survey. Then compare your answers. Are they different? Why? Are there right or wrong answers, or is much of what was recorded open to individual interpretation?

Critical Viewing Survey

Program watched:

Characters (List three to five and describe briefly):

Setting (Time and place):

Problems/Conflicts:

Plot (List three to five events in order of occurrence):

Story theme:

Solution:

Logic (Did the story make sense? Would this have happened in real life?):

Rating of the show (from one to ten, with ten being the highest):

22. Body language.

Observe body language in commercials and/or TV shows and films. Notice head position, hand gestures, and eye movement. How does body language affect how you feel about the intended visual or verbal message? Children could cut out postures and expressions from print advertisements (magazines and newspapers) and see if they can find those postures and expressions on TV or in movies. How important is body language to convey persuasive visual messages?

23. Variations on a story.

Look at how a particular story is handled differently by different channels. Use videotaped shows to compare. What are the differences? What are the similarities?

24. Quick problem solving.

Point out to your child how quick problems are solved on many TV shows. Discuss the differences in dealing effectively with challenges in real life. You may want to include in your discussion what processes you go through to identify, confront, and resolve problems.

25. Put words in their mouth.

As a family watch a favorite program with the sound off. Try to figure out what each of the characters in the show is saying. Discuss why you believe that based on past knowledge of the program and how the characters are behaving. Encourage your child to think about how he or she would write the script for each of the characters. What are the important things that they say? Why are these considered important?

26. Make your own family TV Guide.

Gather your child/ren and ask them to make a family TV Guide for the upcoming week. What programs would they include? What programs would they make sure not to include? Ask them to give reasons for their choices.

27. Thinking ahead to predict what might happen.

This is a great activity for school-age children who may need guidance in watching their favorite programs while you can’t be there with them. Give your child a written list of 3-5 general questions that they can read before they watch a TV show. Consider such questions as: “What do you think this program will be about? What do you anticipate the main character’s troubles will be? How will he/she resolve them? Why are you watching this show and not doing something else?” Instruct your child to think about the questions while viewing-no need to write anything down-just think. As your child watches, he/she won’t be able to stop thinking about these questions-it’s just how the brain works. Intermittently, ask your child to discuss the TV program with you, along with how this activity helps to think about the program!

28. Ask: “What will happen next?”

This is a simple, yet effective activity. Mute the commercials while your family watches TV together and ask each child and adult what he/she thinks will happen next. There are no right or wrong answers! This gives everyone a chance to engage in creative interplay and then to test his/her “hypothesis” when the show resumes. Children may learn just how predictable and mundane a lot of programs are and soon improve on the scriptwriters, adding their own creative ideas!

29. Record your child’s favorite show.

Then play it back during a long car trip or around a cozy fireplace on a dark winter evening. The purpose of this activity would be for your child to hear the program, without seeing the visuals. Talk about how the characters and their actions change as a result of only hearing the show. Does your child have to listen more intently? Why or why not? What are some crucial distinctions between watching and listening?

30. Encourage your child or teen to be a media creator.

Ultimately what we want is for our children to find ways to creatively express who they are. You can encourage a child to use a digital camera and make a photo collage of a family trip, for instance. Older children and teens can create websites, blogs, even podcasts. Screen technologies are powerful tools and when used intentionally, with specific purposes, our children become media-literate in the process of learning more about their own creativity and unique skills.

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15 Media Activities for Children, ages 3-6

Screen Violence

1. Talk about real-life consequences.

If the screen violence were happening in real life, how would the victim feel? In real life what would happen to the perpetrator of the violence. Compare what’s on the screen to the consequences of what happens when someone hurts another person in the real world.

2. Violence is not the way to solve problems.

Emphasize that hurting another person in any way or destroying property is wrong and won’t solve a person’s problems. Point out to your child that many of the violent cartoon characters never seem to solve their problems from episode to episode, and that to use violence is to act without thinking of the consequences. Tell your child it’s powerful and smart to find peaceful, creative ways to solve problems with other human beings. Choose a problem your child encountered recently such as another child taking a toy away and talk about the reasonable way the problem was resolved or could have been resolved-without hurting.

3. Anger is natural.

Talk about the fact that we all get angry, that it’s normal. It’s what we do with our anger-how we cope with it and express it-that’s important. When screen characters hurt people out of anger, it’s because they have not learned how to deal with their anger. Your child could make a list of screen characters who know how to deal with their anger in positive ways.

4. Count the number of violent acts.

While watching a favorite cartoon with your child, count the number of actual violent actions. Point out that these are harmful to others and you would never allow him/her to do such things to others. Total the number of violent actions at the end of the program and ask your child if he/she thought there were that many. Decide not to watch cartoons or any shows with such violent actions.

5. Talk about real and pretend.

If your child is exposed to a violent movie or video game, it is especially important to talk with him/her about the fact that the images were pretend-like when your child plays pretend and that no one was actually hurt. Make it a common practice to talk about the differences between real and pretend with any TV programs, movies, your child watches. Understanding this concept basic to becoming media-literate!

Screen Advertising

6. Blind taste test.

Show your child how she can test the claims of commercials. Have her do a blind taste test. It can be done with a wide range of foods such as three or four kinds of soda pop, spaghetti sauce, cereal-your child’s favorites. Are the products as great as the commercials claimed? Can she tell the difference between a generic brand and a famous one? Can she identify products by name? Do the commercials make products seem different than they really are? Why or why not? This is a fun activity to do with several children. Have a taste test party!

7. Draw pictures of a feeling.

Suggest that your child draw a picture depicting how he feels after watching two different types of TV commercials. What are the differences between the pictures? Discuss your child’s feelings about the different commercial messages. Picture the buyer. Younger children can watch a commercial and then draw a picture of the type of person they think will buy the product. After discussing the child’s picture, explain how various audience appeals are used in commercials to attract specific audiences.

8. Cartoon ads.

While watching cartoons, your child can look for specific cartoon characters that appear in popular commercials. Explain the differences between the commercial and the cartoon: In the commercial, the character sells a product; in the cartoon, the character entertains us. The next time she watches TV, have her report to you if she sees any cartoon characters selling products.

9. The toy connection.

When visiting a toy store, you and your child can look for toys that have been

advertised on TV or promoted by TV personalities. Point out to him how the toys advertised on TV initially seem more attractive than those he hasn’t seen advertised.

10. Invent a character.

Your child can pick a product, such as a favorite cereal, and create an imaginary character that can be used to sell the product. He/she could draw a picture or role-play the character. Or, using puppets, stage an imaginative commercial for a made-up product. Afterwards discuss with your child what she or he did to tell people about the product. Watch a few commercials and point out basic selling techniques such as making the product looking larger than life, repeating a jingle, and showing happy children using the product.

Screen News

TV news contains elements that may not be appropriate for young children. As much as possible, watch news when your child is in bed or not in the room. Protect your little one from graphic images and topics that she/he is not ready to handle cognitively or emotionally.

Screen Stereotypes

11. Not better, just different.

Children are never too young to start learning the message that differences do not make anyone better than anyone else. Point out how each family member has his or her own individual preferences, habits, ideas, and behaviors. Differences make us all unique and interesting. When your child sees a racist or sexist stereotype on the screen, explain that the writers of the script made an error in portraying the character in that light.

12. Change the picture.

Play a game with your child: When she encounters a screen stereotype, ask her whether other types of people could play that role. For instance, if the secretary is a young woman, explain that men are secretaries, too, and that many older women are very competent secretaries.

13. Girls, boys, and toys.

As you walk through a toy store, point out various toys to your child, asking each time whether the toy is made for a boy or a girl. Ask if any child could just as well play with the toy. Encourage your child to find toys that would be fun for girls and boys to play with. Then, when your child sees toy commercials on TV, point out whether only little boys or little girls are playing with the toys.

14. Play: Who is missing?

Often what children see on the screen does not represent all nationalities and the diversity he or she encounters in preschool, kindergarten, or on the playground. While watching favorite cartoons or movies with your child, discuss who is missing-such as an older person; a disabled person, or a person of a certain race or nationality. You can also discuss what types of people your child encounters more often on the screen-young, glamorous, happy white people usually take up the majority of the visual images with men outnumbering women 3 to 1!

15. Model discussion of screen stereotypes.

When your family watches a favorite TV program or a popular DVD, you can help your youngster identify stereotypical roles, behaviors, and attitudes by holding family conversations to involve your spouse and/or older children. While watching the program or movie, the adults and the older children take notes, tracking whenever they spot a stereotype of age, gender, or race. After watching, turn off the TV/VCR and discuss everyone’s observations. Using each family member’s notes, compile a master list of the stereotypical statements and portrayals that were noted. This discussion can be made more interesting if you taped the program (or replay the DVD in appropriate scene/s), so you can refer back to it as family members discuss the stereotypes they spotted. Your little one will listen to this family media literacy conversation and absorb important information while the others share their ideas.

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