Select Page

Questions and article are in the files I uploaded.


Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
PSY/CLDP3310 UTDallas Media And Young Children’s Learning
Just from $10/Page
Order Essay

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Name __________________________
PSY/CLDP 3310 eLA#3
Kirkorian, H. L., Wartella, E. A., & Anderson, D. R. (2008). Media and young children’s
learning. The Future of Children, 18, 39-61.
1) What is the video deficits hypothesis? Explain whether or not there is support for the
2) Imagine a parent of a 3-year-old child asks your professional advice on how much
television her child can view each day. Using the research findings discussed by
Kirkorian, Wartella, and Anderson (2008), how would you appropriately advise this
parent on: a) content, b) child consequences/benefits, and c) what she can do to
maximize benefits?
Media and Young Children’s Learning
Media and Young Children’s Learning
Heather L. Kirkorian, Ellen A. Wartella, and Daniel R. Anderson
Electronic media, particularly television, have long been criticized for their potential impact on
children. One area for concern is how early media exposure influences cognitive development
and academic achievement. Heather Kirkorian, Ellen Wartella, and Daniel Anderson summarize the relevant research and provide suggestions for maximizing the positive effects of media
and minimizing the negative effects.
One focus of the authors is the seemingly unique effect of television on children under age two.
Although research clearly demonstrates that well-designed, age-appropriate, educational television can be beneficial to children of preschool age, studies on infants and toddlers suggest that
these young children may better understand and learn from real-life experiences than they do
from video. Moreover, some research suggests that exposure to television during the first few
years of life may be associated with poorer cognitive development.
With respect to children over two, the authors emphasize the importance of content in mediating the effect of television on cognitive skills and academic achievement. Early exposure to ageappropriate programs designed around an educational curriculum is associated with cognitive
and academic enhancement, whereas exposure to pure entertainment, and violent content in
particular, is associated with poorer cognitive development and lower academic achievement.
The authors point out that producers and parents can take steps to maximize the positive effects
of media and minimize the negative effects. They note that research on children’s television
viewing can inform guidelines for producers of children’s media to enhance learning. Parents
can select well-designed, age-appropriate programs and view the programs with their children
to maximize the positive effects of educational media.
The authors’ aim is to inform policymakers, educators, parents, and others who work with
young children about the impact of media, particularly television, on preschool children, and
what society can do to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs.
Heather Kirkorian is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Ellen Wartella is a professor,
executive vice chancellor, and provost at the University of California–Riverside. Daniel Anderson is a professor at the University of
VOL. 18 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2008
Heather L. Kirkorian, Ellen A. Wartella, and Daniel R. Anderson
ince television first appeared in
the nation’s living rooms in the
middle of the twentieth century,
observers have voiced recurrent
concern over its impact on viewers, particularly children. In recent years,
this concern has extended to other electronic
screen media, including computers and
video game consoles. Although researchers
still have much to learn, they have provided
information on the links between electronic
media, especially television, and children’s
learning and cognitive skills. The message is
clear: most (if not all) media effects must be
considered in light of media content. With
respect to development, what children watch
is at least as important as, and probably more
important than, how much they watch.
Until the 1980s, social
science researchers had only
an implicit theory of how
viewers watched television.
In this article we review media research with
an emphasis on cognitive skills and academic
achievement in young children. We begin by
arguing that by age three, children are active
media users. We then discuss important
aspects of child development that highlight
the debate over whether children younger
than two should be exposed to electronic
media, emphasizing the apparent video
deficit of infants and toddlers in which they
learn better from real-life experiences than
they do from video. Next we look at research
on media effects in three areas: associations
between media use and cognitive skills,
particularly attention; experimental evidence
for direct learning from educational media;
and associations between early media use and
subsequent academic achievement. We close
with some suggestions for both media
producers and parents for enhancing and
extending the potentially beneficial effects of
electronic media use in children, particularly
those who are of preschool age.
Children as Active Media Users
Until the 1980s, social science researchers
had only an implicit theory of how viewers
watched television. Analysts regarded television viewing, particularly by young children,
as being cognitively passive and under the
control of salient attention-eliciting features
of the medium such as fast movement and
sound effects. Jerome Singer formalized
this theory, proposing that the “busyness” of
television leads to a sensory bombardment
that produces a series of orienting responses
that interferes with cognition and reflection.
As a result, children cannot process television
content and therefore cannot learn from it.1
Others proposed similar views, arguing that
programs such as Sesame Street provided
nothing that could be truly educational.2
Aletha Huston and John Wright proposed
a somewhat different theory of attention
to television, positing that the features of
television that drive children’s attention may
change as a child ages. Specifically, they
claimed that in infancy, perceptually salient
features of television such as movement and
sound effects drive attention. With age and
experience, however, children are less influenced by perceptual salience and are able to
pay greater attention to informative features
such as dialogue and narrative.3
Around the same time, Daniel Anderson and
Elizabeth Lorch created a complementary
model of children’s attention to television,
drawing on evidence that television viewing is
Media and Young Children’s Learning
Table 1. Selected Popular Television Programs and DVD Series for Young Children
TV programs
Barney & Friends
Evoking a preschool setting, Barney the dinosaur teaches songs and dances to young
children. The show focuses heavily on pro-social themes of sharing, empathizing, helping
others, and cooperating.
Blue’s Clues
A human host encourages viewers at home to help solve a mystery with his dog friend,
Blue. The show is often repetitive and encourages interactivity by asking viewers to find
clues and solve puzzles.
Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder and his construction crew face building, renovation, and repair challenges. The series often focuses on identifying a problem and making a plan to solve the
Dora the Explorer
Featuring a bilingual Latina girl as the lead, Dora and her friends go on quests and help
others, encouraging viewers to help out through their own actions or by telling her what
she needs to know. In addition to highlighting traditional educational content such as
color and shapes, Dora teaches language by repeating words and phrases in English and
Sesame Street
Combining puppetry, live action, and animation, this long-running series focuses on a
wide range of topics including the alphabet, numbers, emotion management, conflict resolution, music, dance, and healthy lifestyles.
Centering on four colorful characters, the Teletubbies speak in a baby-like language and
learn through play. The Teletubbies have televisions in their stomachs that show clips of
real children from around the world. This program is targeted at toddlers.
Thomas & Friends
Based on a book series, Thomas the Tank Engine and his engine friends learn to work
hard and be cooperative with each other.
The Wiggles
Featuring a four-man singing group for children, episodes of The Wiggles include songs
and skits focused on solving a problem. The Wiggles encourages children to sing songs
and move their bodies to music.
DVD series
Baby Einstein
Series content covers wide range of topics including music, art, language, poetry, and
science. Targeted at children starting at one month.
Brainy Baby
Educational series highlighting range of subjects including alphabet, art, music, shapes,
foreign languages, and right and left brain development. Targeted at children starting at
nine months.
Brainy Baby
Sesame Beginnings
Features baby versions of the Muppets from Sesame Street. The focus is on encouraging
interactions between child and caregivers. Targeted at children starting at six months.
Sesame Workshop
based on active cognition. They argued that
attention in children at least as young as two
is guided in large part by program content.
For example, preschool children pay more
attention to normal video clips than to those
that have been edited to make them incomprehensible, for example by using foreign
dubs of the video clips or randomizing the
order of shots within the clips.4 Moreover,
preschool-age children pay more attention to
children’s programs than to commercials even
though commercials are more densely packed
with formal features.5 Children learn strategies for watching television by using their
knowledge of formal features to guide atten-
tion.6 Finally, to understand typical programs
that use standard video montage such as cuts,
pans, and zooms, children engage in a variety
of inferential activities while viewing.7
Developmental Considerations
Although children are active viewers of
television by preschool age, research suggests
that this may not be true of infants and toddlers. In this section we summarize research
on attention to, comprehension of, and learning from video by children under two.
Attention to Electronic Media
Until recently, research on media effects
VOL. 18 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2008
Heather L. Kirkorian, Ellen A. Wartella, and Daniel R. Anderson
did not focus on infants and toddlers. Early
studies reported that children younger than
two paid little attention to television, perhaps
because little television was produced for
them.8 The early 1990s, however, saw a virtual
explosion in the production of television
Research suggests that
children do not comprehend
the symbolic nature of
television until they reach
the preschool years.
programs and videos designed for infants and
toddlers, and some research now suggests
that infants and toddlers pay close attention
to these videos.9 The increase in infantdirected media products has led to debate
over whether infants and toddlers should be
exposed to electronic media. (See table 1 for
a description of some popular media products
for young children.)
Although the underlying mechanisms driving
attention to video appear to be the same in
adults and infants as young as three months,
some research has found differences in the
ways in which younger and older viewers
watch professionally produced video.10 For
example, one study observed patterns of eye
movements in one-year-olds, four-year-olds,
and adults while they watched Sesame Street
and found systematic differences between
infants and older viewers. Infants’ visual fixations, for example, were more variable and
less sensitive to changes in content.11 In another experiment, children aged six, twelve,
eighteen, and twenty-four months watched
normal and distorted segments of Teletubbies,
a program designed for viewers in this age
range.12 In one distorted video, shots were
randomly ordered; in the other, utterances
were reversed to produce backwards speech.
The experiment found that although older
children (eighteen and twenty-four months)
looked for longer periods at the normal video
segment than at the distorted segments,
younger children (six and twelve months) did
not appear to discriminate between the two.
These findings suggest that children under
eighteen months may not understand, and
thus learn from, television in the same way as
do older children. In particular, they may be
inattentive to dialogue and may fail to integrate comprehension across successive shots
in filmic montage.
Perception of Video
One area of cognitive development influencing children’s ability to learn from television is
the perception of video itself. Some research
suggests that children do not begin to discriminate between television and real-life events
until the early preschool years. For example,
Leona Jaglom and Howard Gardner reported
qualitative observations of three children from
age two to five. They noted that at age two,
the children recognized that the television
world was contained within the television set
but not until they reached age three or four
did they realize that the television world could
not affect them—that, for example, television
characters could not enter their bedrooms.
The authors concluded that sometime between ages two and three, children develop
an understanding of the representational
nature of video.13
In a similar vein, John Flavell and several
colleagues conducted a series of experiments
with preschool-age children to investigate the
distinction they made between real objects
and those represented on video. Younger
children were less likely to correctly answer
Media and Young Children’s Learning
questions regarding the uses of objects on
television. For example, three- and four-yearold children saw a video image of a bowl of
popcorn and were asked if the popcorn would
fall out of the bowl when the television set
was turned upside down. The four-year-olds
recognized that televised images represent
real objects while three-year-olds failed to
discriminate between televised images and
real objects, claiming that the popcorn would
fall out of the bowl if the television was
turned upside down.14
Other research focusing on children’s ability
to discriminate between televised programs
and commercials has generally demonstrated
that children younger than five cannot consistently make that distinction.15 Even when
young children correctly label programs and
commercials, they may still think that the
commercial is part of or connected to the
program.16 Moreover, although children may
be able to identify commercials based on
perceptual cues by age five, their ability to
recognize the persuasive intent and inherent
bias in advertising does not appear to develop
until age seven or eight.17
Together this research suggests that children
do not comprehend the symbolic nature
of television until they reach the preschool
years; evidence of comprehending and learning from television at younger ages than
about two-and-a-half is meager. And it may
take several more years before children are
able to make more specific discriminations
with respect to program content.
Learning from Electronic Media
Many infant-directed media products make
explicit claims about their educational value;
others, with titles such as Baby Einstein,
keep their claims implicit. But analysts know
little about the extent to which children two
years and younger learn from commercially
produced television programs. Experiments
on learning from video have repeatedly found
that infants and toddlers learn better from
real-life experiences than from video. This
so-called video deficit disappears by about
age three, when learning from video becomes
Support for the video deficit hypothesis
comes from several lines of research. Studies
of language learning have demonstrated that
children aged two and older can learn vocabulary from television.19 Unlike older children,
however, infants and toddlers are less likely to
learn from video. One experiment found that
children younger than two learned vocabulary better from real-life experiences than
from equivalent video presentations.20 Other
experimental research demonstrates that
television models are less effective than live
ones in preserving discrimination of foreign
phonemes (speech sounds) in infants.21
Additional support for the video deficit
hypothesis comes from studies examining
infants’ and toddlers’ ability to imitate specific
actions, such as an adult demonstrating actions
with a puppet. In an experiment comparing
toddlers’ imitation of live and mediated (that
is, videotaped) models, Rachel Barr and
Harlene Hayne reported that twelve-, fifteen-,
and eighteen-month-olds were more likely to
perform a behavior after viewing unmediated,
live models than after viewing either the video
model or no model. Only the oldest age group
was more likely to perform the behavior after
seeing the video model than the control group
after seeing no modeled behavior.22 A more
recent experiment made similar findings for
children at twenty-four and thirty months.23
It is clear that, unlike infants and toddlers,
preschool-age children can readily imitate
behaviors seen on video.24
VOL. 18 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2008
Heather L. Kirkorian, Ellen A. Wartella, and Daniel R. Anderson
Another line of research relevant to infants’
and toddlers’ ability to transfer from video to
real-world problems involves object-retrieval
tasks. In these experiments, the child either
sees a toy hidden in an adjacent room through
a window or watches the toy being hidden
on television. In a study of children aged two
and two-and-a-half, Georgine Troseth and
Judy DeLoache reported that both age groups
were able to find the toy on every trial when
the hiding event was seen through a window
but less often when the event was watched
on television, particularly for the younger
participants.25 Kelly Schmitt and Daniel Anderson reported similar findings with overall
performance at chance levels (25 percent) for
children aged two and about 50 percent for
children aged two-and-a-half in the television
task but nearly perfect at both ages for the
window task. Three-year-olds did well on both
tasks.26 Marie Schmidt, Alisha Crawley-Davis,
and Daniel Anderson attempted to minimize
the influence of perceptual cues and simplify
the task in two experiments. In the first, a
sticker was hidden underneath a cutout on
a felt-board that had the same dimensions
as the television screen. In the second, an
experimenter simply told the child, either
live or on closed-circuit television, where the
object was hidden. Performance of two-yearolds in both tasks was still at chance levels in
the television conditions.27 Georgine Troseth
and Judy DeLoache attributed this deficit to
a poor understanding of symbolic representations or to prior expectations about television
as “unreal.” Recent work by Troseth shows
that if toddlers have interactive experiences
with television—if, for example, they converse with an experimenter via closed-circuit
video—the video deficit in the object-retrieval
task can be overcome.28
Overall, the bulk of the research supports
a video deficit for learning by infants and
toddlers even though it can be overcome
by an interactive relationship. Researchers
have not yet demonstrated any learning, or
lack of it, from commercial baby videos. One
recent study evaluated the effect of a series
of baby videos designed to foster parent-child
interactions. Compared with parents who
watched a comparison series (Baby Einstein),
parents who …
Purchase answer to see full

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHSELP