Digital media such as the Internet and video games have become increasingly important in the lives of children and youth. Even when young people are consuming other media, such as TV, music and movies, they are likely to be doing it through the Internet. As well, nearly all the media they consume, from TV shows to toys, have Web pages, virtual worlds, video games or other digital spinoffs associated with them.
There are few media to which youth are exposed to as early as toys, which make up an important part of their media consumption throughout childhood: despite competition from electronics, half of children 14 and younger asked for toys for Christmas in 2011, a number that likely rises for younger children. As a result, the messages about body image that children get from toys may come at a time when they are still forming ideas about gender identity.
The Internet is revolutionizing how we access and listen to music. The development of MP3s, or digital song files, has made it easy to download virtually any piece of music online.
Throughout the elementary years, parents are the main gatekeepers for their children. As such, they need to be actively involved in their children’s video game playing – selecting the games, managing how much time children spend playing, and talking to them about the values in the games they like.
For most teens, playing video games is just another recreational activity they enjoy with friends. The concern is when video game playing becomes an addictive or isolating activity.
Good-quality video games offer lots of benefits to children and teens.
MediaSmarts has been developing digital and media literacy programs and resources for Canadian homes, schools and communities since 1996. Through our work we support adults with information and tools so they can help children and teens develop the critical thinking skills they need for interacting with the media they love.
No, it’s not your imagination. The amount of advertising and marketing North Americans are exposed to daily has exploded over the past decade; studies show, that on average, people living in urban centres see up to 5,000 ads per day.  At the gas pumps, in the movie theatre, in a washroom stall, on stickers on fruit, during sporting events—advertising is pretty much impossible to avoid.
There is little doubt that marketers love kids. With a collective spending power of over three billion dollars, and the potential to influence billions more in family spending,  marketers are keen to establish brand recognition and brand loyalty with children at increasingly younger ages.
Children may be particularly at risk online because they’re not always aware of the risks associated with what they’re doing. For that reason, children need close supervision when using digital devices and also need to be taught basic cyber security skills as early as possible.