Children spend an average of four hours per day in front of some sort of screen, which can displace physical activity, reinforce sedentary habits, and expose them to advertising. As obesity rates have increased, so have children's media options: TV, radio, video games, computers, and the Internet. By 2010, most of these media will have converted to digital technology, allowing consumers to receive more interconnected media content. For instance, digital television (DTV) will allow broadcasters to program up to six channels, rather than one, and offer interactive programming. What does this mean for kids and families? Today, children can watch Dora the Explorer on TV, play a game on the show's Web site, and buy a Dora lunchbox at the store. With DTV, kids could use a TV remote to click on a pop-up ad during the show and go directly to an e-commerce site for Dora merchandise. While digital media offer tremendous educational opportunities, advocates and policy leaders also foresee potentially harmful marketing targeted directly to kids. Broadcasters are reacting to calls for increased regulation by looking for ways to voluntarily demonstrate responsible practices. As a result, the period leading up to a digital media environment presents a window of opportunity. Since media executives want to maintain parents' trust and avoid further regulation, advocates may have more leverage to help companies adopt strategies that produce a more healthful children's media universe. The purpose of this grant is for Children Now and the American Center for Children and Media plan to convene leaders from digital media, advertising, business, academia, and advocacy. Participants will explore ways to create a children's media environment that is socially responsible and financially sustainable by 2010, and outline a plan of action. This project also will yield a white paper for distribution through media outlets, a research agenda to fill gaps in knowledge of media's changing role in children's lives, and post-conference briefings.
Amount Awarded $50,000.00
Awarded on: 3/9/2005
Time frame: 3/10/2005 - 9/30/2006
Grant Number: 52714