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MULTIMEDIA CHILDHOOD: A SOCIO-PSYCHO PERSPECTIVE OF MEDIA IMPACTS ON CHILDREN

ABSTRACT Children spend more time with media than any other activity, except for sleeping. So, media's impact on their lives, especially at social and psychological levels, appears highly significant. Knowing and regulating these impacts meaningfully is desirable for parents, teachers, policy makers, doctors, etc. This paper explores how children make sense of media by inventing, creating, and generating their media culture on the one hand and how they are influenced by them on the other. Further, it tries to discover how they develop and maintain their web community globally and create varieties of codes, slangs and symbols to express their moods, desires, dreams, aspirations and likes and dislikes. In addition, it analyses the ways through which children gain autonomy in selecting media of their choice sometimes even by challenging the authority and control of elders. BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND OBJECTIVES Media can be defined as the particular technologies that facilitate the storage and modification, articulation and exchange of signs, by text, images, numbers or sound. Signs, sounds, symbols, images, and texts are tools of meaning making. So, media can be defined by meaning-making technologies (Drotner 2009). Children's relation to them can be defined as a means through which they can connect, interact, and engage with other people beyond their physical reach. 'Children' here refer to young people and teenagers who use multimedia or are exposed to multimedia. Western children do not symbolize necessarily the children of the West but also children having access to multimedia. Traditionally, children culture was studied through folklore and games. The representation of children culture was basically embedded in fairy-tales and grandmothers' lullabies. This kind of practice even now can be found in rural or remote places which are not connected to the globalized media culture. The first printed version of a tale which represents children culture was "Little Red Riding Hood" written by Charles Perrault in 1697 (Hall 2003). Now, with the development of script and communication technology, children's materials of cultural representations can be found in various forms, for example, pictures, writings, objects, images, books, magazines, DVD games, television programmes, signs, symbol, language, and so forth. These materials are produced, endorsed, used and understood in different social and material contexts (Hall 1997). Studies and surveys consistently show that most children in industrialized countries spend more time watching television, playing computer games, listening to music and surfing the internet, rather than studying in school or interacting with members of families and friends (Buckingham 2003). Media have become a part of everyday lives of children and young people. Now

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Jun 1, 2014