Archive for September, 2010

Super Media Me: Part 2… Nurturing Generation Z

The last half of my four-day exploration into my media consumption required me to cut off my use of media completely. Is this possible? Not in this day and age, and definitely not as a mother who needs to stay connected. I needed to keep a line of communication open just in case something were to happen to my family.

My daughter and I went to visit my sister during the last two days of my observation, so staying away from the tv wasn’t hard. My living habitat is very tv centered, even with my daughter; whereas my sister keeps the tv off at her house. The whole weekend, the tv was on for a total of 1 hour. Her two daughters are still very technology savvy though.

My phone stayed on during this period, but I used it a lot less than normally. Ignoring it for a couple days was nice, much less of a distraction.  I am now considering disconnecting my email from my iphone because I got so much junk mail.

While I was trying to ignore media for the weekend, I decided to observe my nieces’ media consumption habits. They love to play games on the internet and on their Wii. My sister closely monitors how much time a day they spend on it. If they could spend all day on the computer, I’m sure they would! The girls also ask to play on their Mom or Dad’s iphone a lot to play with the game apps. They don’t get to do this very much. My sister knows how apt her girls are with computers, and makes sure that they stay on secure sites and away from chat rooms.

What I learned from my sister this weekend is that I have to limit what Kortney consumes and watches, because it can take over her life if I let it. As I stepped back from media to look at the role it plays in my life and my daughter’s life, I realized that we can only get more advanced. I also realized that I need to do like my sister, and protect my child from the dangers of media to children. Over-stimulation, deadening the imagination, and death of traditional media like books are some ones that come instantly to my mind. My sister reads to her girls every night, encourages creative activities like science club and art classes, and closely monitors their tv and computer usage.

What parents need to do for their kids is set an example with media by teaching them moderation and appropriateness. Spend time showing your kids things you love, and they’ll learn to expand their interests also. Generation Z is the future of technology and we have to teach them how to handle it safely and in moderation. I’m learning firsthand how fast a child’s youth goes, and I’m realizing how vital it is to be spent in the right ways.

Because of this exercise, I’ve realized that I need to use the internet and television in more moderation while I’m at home so I can spend more time playing with my daughter and nurturing her imagination. In reality, Generation Z will eventually have ultimate power when it comes to media. They will be able to do promote anything due to viral marketing.


Super Media Me: Part 1…Target Advertising

I am entering on a four-day journey into media exploration. I intend to examine how and when I use media, and also observations I made specifically about advertising tehniques and trends.

On the particular morning I decided to start tracking my media consumption, my power was out. I felt absolutely helpless. I couldn’t turn on the tv to check the weather, news, or traffic. My room seemed so quiet without the background noise of the tv.

Throughout the day I noticed the ads around me and tried to notice what I usually do not. To me, college is now less of a social experience than it might be to most younger students, possibly because I don’t live on campus and have had enough partying. So I don’t really notice the fliers on the billboards or the written messages on the sidewalks. The media I intentionally consume while on campus consists of emails I check through my iphone, calls and texts I send or recieve, time I spend reading books, and the time I spend on facebook for my iphone. Collectively, I’d say I spend 40 minutes out of the 5 hours a day I’m on campus consuming some type of media by choice.

I am the most exposed to media when I am at home. Honestly, I come in and turn on the tv and put my feet up (or try, with my 2 year old) until supper time. The tv is on in my room for at least 4 hours a day. I am also constantly getting junk mail on in my email account, which is now becoming somewhat of an annoyance. I usually turn on the Sprout channel for Kortney so I can wind down for the day.

As a parent I love to watch her engage in the shows because it’s like seeing her learning. I have fun watching them with her! But watching the commericals also got me thinking about how advertising is most effective. Audiences are changing all the time; each person’s interests and wants are changing all the time as they mature and age. The most effective way to advertise is to get your point across to your target audience.

There are a certain set of commercials that are played over and over on the channel I let my daughter watch. All of these commericals keep my daughters attention, while also appealing to me beacause its something that Kortney would want eventually or benefit from in the long run. But when I change from the kid channel to my fashion channel, the commercials change completely. They are for clothing lines and other tv series. I am no longer a concerned mom when I am watching these commericals, I am a women who likes to shop. Changing to the news brings out another side of my interests as a consumer.

In general, I’m saying that advertisers have a huge job figuring out the best way to appeal to their target audience while also staying relevant to other focus groups. What many people don’t realize is that they fall into many focus group generalizations, therefore subconsiously reacting to many different ads they see every day.

And now for something completely unrelated, but still relevant…
My daughter is slowly becoming more technologically advanced than I am…at the age of 2. I remember the day it happened to me and my mother. I could zip through web pages and equipment setups, I was texting and facebooking, and file sharing at college. Kortney knows how to run an app on my phone. It’s a little alphabet/numbers/colors/shapes tutorial. She knows to tap on the screen to start it again once it’s gone through its cycle. Kortney also knows how to call people on the phone and loves to Skype with her Grandma and Auntie. I’m sure there will be a day when she understands technology and digital media better than I do, but I cannot imagine when or what the media of the future will be.

(I get a taste of exactly how technology today is affecting the newest generation in my next blog…read on!!)

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