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Children's ability to understand media and the importance of co-viewing

  • 2019.12.13
  • Event
What children can understand from watching media depends on the age of the child. Pre-school children understand more than just colors and sounds, but still mostly understand the surface features of what they are watching. For example, they cannot put separated elements into a complex narrative, and they have difficulty understanding the motivation of a character’s actions. Co-viewing, or having parents and other caregivers watch and comment along with the media, is discussed in the United States as a way to keep children from watching things they might find troubling. But co-viewing also offers an opportunity for parents to help them comprehend the story elements they don’t yet understand. School-age children understand not only more complex stories but also some of the storytelling elements of the camera angles and media editing choices. This knowledge helps children understand the media at a deeper level. For example, they understand that zooming in on a window of a small house, then showing someone standing at a window, means the person is inside the house. Co-viewing at this age may help children understand the subtler aspects of the media and give them perspective on how realistic, or not realistic the action is. For example, parents can talk with their children about a character’s choices, why they made that choice, and what the other options might be. Creating media for children’s entertainment or education works best when the creators keep the cognitive ability of the children in mind. Parents can help guide their children’s understanding of the complex world of media through the simple act of co-viewing.

Topic:Children's ability to understand media and the importance of co-viewing

Date:December 13th, 2019, Friday

Time: 11:00 am-12:00 am

Venue: Room 101, Teaching A


Kristen N Asplin, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychology

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

About the Speaker:

Kristen Asplin, PhD, teaches classes in developmental psychology, human cognition, and psychological research. She especially enjoys helping students explore new ways of thinking, whether it is in their interactions with children or in their understanding of the everyday behavior of people. Dr. Asplin's research focuses on children's thinking and learning. She is especially interested in how children learn language. She has also done research in criminal justice on which programs best help traumatized and delinquent youth. She is an advisor to Psi Chi, the International Psychology Honor Society.