Two recent books have painted a detailed and fascinating picture of media for very young children and, for each, the ACCM has presented a New York “breakfast briefing” for industry professionals. Our goal is that creators and distributors of children’s media have the best and most detailed knowledge about how their work is seen by outside, informed observers
The books take different and complementary tacks. Dade Hayes’ Anytime Playdate
goes behind the scenes of program research and development, while Lisa Guernsey’s “Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five”
dissects a wide range of existing research on media’s effects (positive and negative) on toddlers.
On June 19, 2008, the American Center for Children and Media presented Dade Hayes in conversation with Scott Traylor, CEO and Chief Kid of 360KID.
Hayes talked about the impetus behind his book – similar to that of Lisa Guernsey – watching his own child’s (now “children’s”) relationship with her favorite on-screen characters, and wondering about the process of creating and testing compelling characters and stories. Much of the book goes behind the scenes with the team producing Nick Jr.’s “Ni Hao Kai-lan.”
On October 17 in New York, Lisa Guernsey
, author of “Into the Minds of Babes She was joined by Christy Glaubke of Children Now,
who had conducted a new literature review
, documenting what we know about preschoolers, learning and interactive media. The two were interviewed by Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review
Guernsey’s book is thoughtful, reasoned, and very well-studied. She begins by acknowledging that most parents do allow even very young children some media exposure – not only aren’t TV and digital media going away, they are expanding and migrating to all kinds of new platforms and uses. Therefore, the productive and forward-looking discussion is how to define and achieve high-quality media, and support parents in its responsible use.
Hayes’ book is evocative, timely and tracks a compelling storyline. Most impressive is his documentation of the depth and care that goes into each decision about a new series’ learning goals, characters, storylines and appeal. He is able to put today’s media environment into historical context, and raises challenging questions about the balance between creator-driven ideas and the industry’s limited room for risk-taking. While written primarily for parents, both books are goldmines also for writers, producers, development executives, telecasters, public affairs and promotion experts. Both are written with a parent’s engagement, a journalist’s wary eye, and a mystery writer’s sense of exposition.
Thanks to Scott Traylor for recording both events (and Livia Beasley of Women in Children’s Media for her camerawork) and posting the videos online ( Guernsey, Part 1 and Guernsey, Part 2 and Hayes).