As the London 2012 Paralympics came to a close, I watched a series of incredible athletes and incredible people inspire youth around the world with lessons of endurance, perseverance, and hard work.
Many of the competitors in these 2012 Games trained their entire lives for a chance at the podium. More than 60 years after the original Stoke Mandeville Games were held in London for the disabled veterans of World War II, these games provided inspiration not consolation. One of the most inspiring Paralympic athletes is Canada’s own Patrick Anderson.
Anderson has been a member of Canada’s Paralympic basketball team since the age of 17, winning 3 gold and one silver medal in the process. In the 2012 final, Anderson led Canada over Australia 64-58 with 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
The 33-year old is now a global icon for the sport, but it wasn’t an easy road. In 1989, at the age of 9, he was struck by a drunk driver and lost both of his legs above the knee. He discovered wheelchair basketball the next year and took to it quickly using his athletic ability and incredible tenacity and has since inspired a generation.
“Pat’s a tremendous ambassador for Canada basketball and I believe the Paralympic movement in general,” says Jody Kingsbury, communications manager at Wheelchair Basketball Canada.
“Somebody of his talents and skill when you get to see him play he just captivates people and I think that the more people that can see somebody like that participating at the highest level, it creates more awareness here in Canada and around the world for wheelchair basketball and the Paralympics.”
While Anderson inspires those who watch him play, he’s also a public figure maintaining a blog where he shares information on Paralympic sport and his experiences, and photos of him interacting with fans young and old.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white… the only color that really matters is green”
– Peter Griffin (Family Guy)
The advert that takes 30 seconds out of your precious gaming experience even before loading time, is it really important? Why can’t the game start right away like the good old days? These are a few questions that came in to my head a few years before I really understood the importance of in-game advertising. It’s true that it frustrates a casual gamer sitting in front of a screen eagerly waiting to play a new exciting game. If the gamers actually knew and understood the formula “Ad + waiting = money + gaming” it would all seems so simple. Money is the backbone of any industry, as well as the gaming industry.
As an early childhood educator, I often find myself defending my love for kid’s media and my belief in its educational potential. While I
have read about the negative impact that too much or poor quality programming can have on the developing child, I have also witnessed children learning through television and digital games. I have also read about the positive influence that media can have when time, knowledge and care are given to its development. Identifying quality educational media can be quite the challenge, especially with the amount of content that continues to flood the market. A search for “kids educational” in the iTunes store alone can leave you overwhelmed with the 10,000+ apps available. For those who are committed to the identification and development of quality educational media, understanding the important role that applied and evaluative research can play is an invaluable tool.
‘tween // [tween] preposition 1. contraction of between. noun 2. Also, tween. A youngster between 10 and 12 years of age, considered too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager.
The Tween Demographic
The definition of a “tween” market (ages 8 to 12) has changed the advertising landscape as we know it. Danielle Hulan, in her study of branding and tween identity, writes that this vulnerable generation has been “raised by a commodity culture from the cradle [… their] dependably fragile self-images and their need to belong to groups are perfect qualities for advertisers to exploit” (Quart, cited in Hulan, 2007). In fact, many corporations hire the expertise of market research companies like Look-Look to hunt for the next “cool thing.” The marketing of “cool” forces tweens to grow up quickly. Industry research reveals that children 11 and older don’t consider themselves children anymore. The Toy Manufacturers of America has changed their target market from birth to 14, to birth to ten years of age. By treating tweens as independent, mature consumers, marketers are essentially erasing the parents from the picture.
I sit at my computer, in my living room. The TV is on, Facebook is open, messages are chiming and a bouncing icon is telling me I have unread mail. I would love nothing better than to sit here uninterrupted and write this blog, but the realities of digital media are allowing me to fall victim to the media multitasking phenomenon.
Girl gamers carry a stigma in society; they’re girls who like ‘boy things’ (video games and sports). The genre needs to be revamped into a place where girls can play games designed *shock* FOR GIRLS. It’s time to revolutionize the market. So why is the market this way? And what can we do to start changing it?
For the past two years, I’ve worked part-time at a ski shop. I fit kids ages 3-12 for skis, boots and outerwear. If you’ve ever taken a little one ski shopping, then you know it can be a lengthy process. After being measured, weighed and stuffed into a hot, puffy snow outfit, it’s no wonder they get restless. Since equipment and outerwear fitting is a long sweaty, process, kids often bring some form of electronic entertainment with them. Most of them bring their Nintendo DS’s.
Children today are spending more time on screens and by the time they reach their early twenties they will probably be exposed to more than a million ads. Some would argue that the increased exposure to advertising has made children, teens and young adults more media savvy than ever before, but I think this over exposure is actually clouding their judgment. Read more >>
In the Children’s Entertainment Program at Centennial College, I teach the two courses in the business of children’s entertainment category. In addition to learning about the landscape of children’s media, the regulatory and funding frameworks and the legal and financial aspects of the industry, we spend a lot of time reviewing news and topical issues. Beyond just the “who’s who” and “who’s doing what,” we track trends and lightening rod issues—and this leads to some of our most interesting discussions. Read more >>
Media offers a world of entertainment and learning possibilities for children and youth. The kidsmediacentre explores kids' media futures and is committed to supporting cross-platform content producers in Canada to ensure the kids' media industry is vibrant, indigenous and committed to the healthy growth of children.