Children's cross-platform media preferences: a sense of kindness and a want for learning?
Authors: Woodfall and Woodfall, A.
Cross-platform media practices have moved from being something of an under-considered side show, to a strategic necessity. A development vision that attempts to transcend historic platform delineation is becoming the norm in many areas of media production, yet cross-platform media, as an over-arching conceptualisation, is still sparsely mapped. Children’s media in particular can be said to have long spanned platform, yet there is little research that addresses media in this sense, and even less that attempts to bring together the voices of children with those that make media for children. This study sets out to explore children’s cross-platform media within the UK; with children’s media preferences acting as a trigger to dialogue. The study’s original contribution to knowledge is said to sit within its multi-method interdisciplinary design, which as well as foregrounding participant voice, operates in a tactual and reflective fashion.
The study looks to explore children’s preferences within media made for them, but also to question the extent to which producers of media for children understand these preferences; with the researcher himself having a background within children’s media practice. To establish the foundations from which to consider these questions, the thesis begins by contextualising and conceptualising cross-platform media, before it moves on to address how children are positioned within media research. Argument is made that media should be seen not as distinct, or platform bound, but as utterances within a cross-platform dialogue, and similarly the study is orientated towards operating across a dialogic phenomenology in which it becomes difficult to locate the unitary, fixed and finalised. It is hoped that through engaging in dialogue on children’s preferences within cross-platform media that this study will impact on practice within the field. Analysis of the research interactions suggests that producers of children’s media share an understanding with children on the ways in which they appear averse to media that they see as unfair, unkind or in which others come to harm. Yet when it comes to the place of learning within children’s media, something child participants appear particularly comfortable with, practitioners seem less in tune with the preferences of children.