Interview with former student Lucy Seager, on children’s media and life after the MSc

By Jun.10, 2014

Lucy Seager came straight to our MSc in Media Psychology after obtaining a First Class Psychology degree from Canterbury Christchurch. Lucy is fast establishing herself as a child media specialist; she researched the negative impact of music videos on children for her undergraduate dissertation, investigated child development and media multi-tasking for her Master’s  dissertation, and now works as a researcher at children’s market research agency.

Lucy Seager

·       Hi Lucy. It’s great to hear you’re doing so well. Tell me about your current work.

Hi Adam, thank you. I work for a market research agency called The Pineapple Lounge that specialises in understanding children and families, from babies to teens and even grandparents. We help businesses that provide products and services for kids and families to understand their market and we use quantitative and qualitative methods. I mainly work in the quantitative team designing questionnaires, analysing data and presenting insights in debriefs to clients but I also get to do qualitative work like interviews and focus groups with parents and kids. It’s really fun work and I get to work with lots of fun and exciting companies!

·         What do you think are some of the issues involved in children’s media provision?

Where do I start! I think it’s important for children’s media providers to consider what impact media has on children and how they can provide good content for their target audience. Learning and education is particularly important for children’s media so providers need to understand their audience’s needs and produce content to suit them. In addition to education, the growing trend of gendered media and associated merchandise is also becoming an issue. There is starting to be a backlash against pink and fluffy content and toys for girls and macho stuff for boys (check out Goldieblox‘s ads for an example of this!). Children’s media providers especially have a responsibility to create ‘appropriate’ content and consider the messages they are sending but also appeal to their viewers. They have a minefield of dos and don’ts to navigate because their choices might have a big influence on their viewers.

·         Are fears around children’s media use warranted?

The fear that children are viewing too much media and not climbing enough trees is a hotly debated topic. Children’s media consumption has been associated with concerns over childhood obesity, academic performance, violence etc. but it is important to consider the content and context in which media is viewed. Media like games and television shows can have benefits; it can teach new things, it could help develop coordination or strategic thinking, it could even provide social interaction. And of course media should be consumed in moderation. When you consider the positives and negatives of media and how it can be viewed, I don’t think fear over children’s media is warranted.

·         What do you see as the main opportunities for growth in children’s media?

I think there is a big opportunity for children’s media to harness the second screen and create interactive play-along experiences. This would be great with educational TV. The second screen is mainly thought of as an attention splitter but it has the potential to focus attention too and become an extra level to the first screen. I think this can be applied in educational and play contexts and be a really fun addition to kid’s media! I also think there will be big opportunities for media providers that open up their content to children and allow for adaptions. Children like to be creative and get involved with their content.

·         What role can Psychologists play in this future?

Psychologists can provide an understanding of what a child’s needs are and how they may interact with certain media. This can help media providers to really understand their audience so that they can provide content that is appropriate and even a beneficial to a child’s media diet! Psychologists can play a close and valuable role in children’s media provision.

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