Social Media and Our Lives

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The different forms of social media available today have in no little way affected the cause of human existence. As a matter of fact, as different forms of media continue to spring up in addition to television, the print media, radio and the internet, so many lives are being influenced either positively or negatively.

Social media as experts have been able to decipher have appreciable effect on both young and old. The popular saying that we are products of what we read, watch and hear cannot be overemphasized. In point of fact, a good number of children have been found to derive some of their characteristic behavior or certain pattern of behavior as a result of movies which they’ve watched. Children can take on very remarkable traits from what they’ve seen on a social media such as TV or what they heard on radio. A good example is a young child who disturbs the parents to get him an attire like the one the surgeon had on him for a TV advert. The toddler may even mimic the way the surgeon speaks. And of course, this can go a long way to arouse the curiosity and the genius embedded in that little one. Adults are not left out of this too. However, on the other hand, a lot of vices in society have erupted today as a result of some of the scenes, even advertorials being featured on some of the social media. In fact, in very many cases some of the adverts and appearances on the TV and a good number of websites are targeted at arousing sexual feelings. Truthfully, quite a number are even dedicated to pornographic images. And of course, these can go a long way to affect the psyche of anyone that stumbles on such corrupt social media practices for a lifetime, either old or young. In fact, most cases of rape are as a result of some the appearances on the media.

How about violence too? Again, one of the ills of the media which has culminated into evil in the larger society is the issue of violence being featured on the mass media. As a matter of fact, as good as the social media is, it has also been to the detriment of a lot of people around the globe.

Well, quite lot is actually being done to put a check on social media ills. We now have Parental control features on some devices and many countries also have regulatory bodies which have been empowered to put a check on some forms of social media. But in this crucial issue, it is not the checks by the regulatory bodies or the parental control that matters. We ourselves must clamor for a society which is healthy and void of vices. So are we willing to change as individual? Or are we ready to go the extra mile to give children the opportunity to grow up in an environment void of the negative extremes which social media may at times bring? The choice is ours.

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TV Program Downloads and the Legal Maze

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Is copying TV program downloads to your PC illegal?

The simple answer is no.

The only thing that is illegal is taking copyrighted material that you haven’t acquired legitimately – and, of course, distributing copyrighted material that you have acquired legitimately.

You are well within your rights to copy your own tv program downloads,music collection or whatever onto your computer or your iPod, as long as you don’t then copy those files onto your friends computer or iPod.

As for tv program downloads and music on the internet there are numerous legal options, including online services that sell individual recordings to download and keep, others offer unlimited access to a media archives in return for either a monthly fee or a one off membership fee.

There are also plenty of TV program downloads that are both legal and free, these include one-off promotions from the major companies as well as products from little known production companies or upcoming bands who are more interested in exposure and making a name for themselves than making a profit.

As we’ve already seen there is nothing the media industry fears more (for obvious reasons) than the uncontrolled distribution of its copyrighted material.

It is difficult (impossible?) to see how the companies can stop people sharing files they have copied from their own CD’s or PC files even if they manage to legally kill off the underground file sharing networks.

The major companies do however have a strategy for stopping people freely distributing media they have legally purchased.

Its called Digital Rights Management or DRM, it involves embedding special pieces of code into music files for instance, (or TV program downloads or other formats for that matter) which digitally impose certain restrictions on what you can do with that file.

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45 Family Media Literacy Activities to Grow Smart Brains in a Digital Age – Help All in One Place

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What is “media literacy?” The word literacy connotes a high degree of competency and usually means that a person knows how to read and write. A literate person, on the other hand, is well read, using and applying high level thinking skills across a broad range of topics. Computer literacy means the capacity to use computers well. Media literacy, then, is the ability to use all forms of media well. A media-literate person uses television, movies, DVDs, computer and video games for specific purposes, just as a print-literate person reads a book or a magazine, a college text or a newspaper for specific, various reasons.

Using all visual screen technology intentionally is the first, and most important element in becoming media literate. Ultimately as parents we want children and teens to be in control of small screens and not be controlled by them. Research has verified and experts know that a child who mindlessly watches a lot of TV or plays video games endlessly is less equipped to develop the capacities for wise media use. A media literate child, on the other hand, would learn to self-monitor screen time-being able to take it in doses-rather than make a habit of it four-five hours a day ad nauseum. He or she would want to do other activities because thinking, creative children are curious beings and there’s a whole world out there to explore-screen technologies just being one small part of it.

While a print-literate person reads words; a media literate person reads images. Using analysis, evaluation, and higher level thinking skills, a media-literate person interprets the subtle messages and overt claims visual messages convey. This is where we want our children headed-in a direction of making it second nature to think well about all forms of media images.

If we boiled down media literacy for our children, I think we would find five basic skills that we would like them to acquire:

• Conscious, intentional, limited use of all forms of screen technology

• Ability to critique visual messages and understand their intent and intellectual and emotional impact

• Ability to communicate facts, ideas, and thoughtful opinions about media images

• A thorough understanding of media production techniques to fully appreciate how such techniques as camera angles, lighting, cuts, etc. impact the messages being delivered

• Ability to use all forms of screen technology purposefully, and eventually wisely

Children can enjoy becoming media literate. The 45 family media literacy activities are grouped as follows:

30 General activities that you can adapt and use with children or teens.

15 Activities for children, specifically designed for children, ages 3-6

30 General Family Media Literacy Activities

1. TV and books.

Keep track of the dates when a TV version of a book is scheduled to air and encourage your kids to read the book first, or follow up the program by suggesting they read the book afterwards. Great discussions can result from comparing the original book and the TV version.

2. Use TV to expand children’s interests.

Link TV programs with your children’s interests, activities, and hobbies. A child interested in crafts can watch craft programs for encouragement and ideas; after viewing a wildlife show, take the kids to a zoo and have them recall what they learned about animals from the TV program. How does the real life experience differ from the show they watched? Are there any similarities?

3. Time capsule.

Ask your child to imagine that he or she has been given the job of choosing five television programs that will be included in a time capsule, not to be opened for one hundred years. Discuss what type of society these shows might reflect to a child opening the time capsule one hundred years from now.

4. Different viewpoints.

All family members watch one program together. The TV is then turned off and each person writes a few sentences about their opinions about the show. Discuss and compare everyone’s opinions, pointing out to your child how different people will like or dislike the same program. Why are all opinions valid? Who had the most persuasive opinion about the show? Why?

5. Watch a TV show being taped.

Take kids to a television program taping either locally or as part of a family trip to New York or Los Angeles. To make the trip more meaningful, have your children draw the set, take notes on the format of the show, note the special effects, and talk about what it was like being in the audience. Is the audience important to the show? How? (It may be easier to visit a local TV or radio station. You could visit both and talk about the differences between them.)

6. Make up an alternate title.

When you’re watching a TV program or movie with your child, ask him or her to exercise imagination and think of another title. To get things rolling, suggest an alternate title yourself. All family members can come up with as many alternates as possible. Vote on the best. What makes it better than all the rest to convey the essence of the show or film?

7. Compare what you see with what you expect.

With your child, come up with a description of a show before watching it, based on what you’ve read in a TV schedule. Predict how the characters will act and how the plot will unfold. When the program ends, take a few minutes to talk about what you saw: Did either of you notice any differences between what was written in the TV schedule and what was actually shown? Were either of you surprised by anything you saw? Is the show what you expected it would be? Why or why not?

8. Which category does it fit?

Using a television guide, your child will list all the shows she or he watches, then divide them into the following categories: comedy, news, cartoons, sitcoms, dramas, soap operas, police shows, sporting events, educational programs, and documentaries. Which is her or his favorite category and show? Why?

9. Predict what will happen.

During commercial breaks, ask your child to predict what will happen next in the program. You can discuss such questions as: If you were the scriptwriter, how would you end this story? What do you think the main characters will do next? Is it easy or difficult to guess the main event in this program? Why or why not?

10. The guessing game.

Turn off the volume but leave the picture on. See if your child can guess what is happening. To extend this into a family game, have everyone pick a TV character and add his/her version of that character’s words.

11. Letter writing.

Encourage your child to write letters to TV stations, describing why s/he likes and dislikes certain programs. Emphasize that giving factual and specific information will be helpful.

12. Be a camera operator.

Have your child experiment with a video camera to learn how it can manipulate a scene (omission-what it leaves out; selection-what it includes; close-up-what it emphasizes; long shot-what mood it establishes; length of shot-what’s important and what’s not).

13. Theme songs.

Help your child identify the instruments and sound effects used in the theme songs of his favorite shows. Have her sing or play the music in the show and explain what the music is doing. Does it set a mood? How? Does it tell a story? How does it make him/her feel?

14. Sequence the plot: a game.

To help your child understand logical sequencing, ask her to watch a TV show while you write down its main events, jotting each event on a separate card. At the completion of the program, shuffle the cards and ask your child to put them in the same order in which they appeared during the program. Discuss any lapses in logical sequence.

15. A time chart.

Your child will keep a time chart for one week of all of her activities, including TV watching, movie watching, and playing video games. Compare the time spent on these activities and on other activities, such as playing, homework, organized sports, chores, hobbies, visiting friends, and listening to music. Which activities get the most time? The least? Do you or your child think the balance should be altered? Why or why not?

16. Winning and losing.

Tell your child to watch a sports program and list all the words that are used to describe winning and losing. Encourage a long list. You can make this into a friendly competition, if you like, with two or more children collecting words from several sports programs and then reading them aloud.

17. TV and radio.

While watching TV coverage of a sports game, turn off the TV sound and have your child simultaneously listen to radio coverage. What does your child think about the radio coverage? About the TV coverage? What are the strengths of each? The weaknesses?

18. Quiz show comparison.

Compare and contrast the wide variety of game and quiz shows with your child. You’ll see shows that test knowledge, shows that are based on pure luck, and shows that are aimed specifically at children. Which are your child’s favorites? Why?

19. TV lists.

Assist your child in making lists of all television programs that involve hospitals, police stations, schools, and farms, and all television programs that contain imaginative elements, such as science fiction shows or cartoons.

20. Television vocabulary.

Challenge your child to listen for new words on TV and report back to the family on their definitions.

21. Critical viewing survey.

Ask your child to watch one of his favorite programs with you. Afterwards, you will both fill out the following survey. Then compare your answers. Are they different? Why? Are there right or wrong answers, or is much of what was recorded open to individual interpretation?

Critical Viewing Survey

Program watched:

Characters (List three to five and describe briefly):

Setting (Time and place):

Problems/Conflicts:

Plot (List three to five events in order of occurrence):

Story theme:

Solution:

Logic (Did the story make sense? Would this have happened in real life?):

Rating of the show (from one to ten, with ten being the highest):

22. Body language.

Observe body language in commercials and/or TV shows and films. Notice head position, hand gestures, and eye movement. How does body language affect how you feel about the intended visual or verbal message? Children could cut out postures and expressions from print advertisements (magazines and newspapers) and see if they can find those postures and expressions on TV or in movies. How important is body language to convey persuasive visual messages?

23. Variations on a story.

Look at how a particular story is handled differently by different channels. Use videotaped shows to compare. What are the differences? What are the similarities?

24. Quick problem solving.

Point out to your child how quick problems are solved on many TV shows. Discuss the differences in dealing effectively with challenges in real life. You may want to include in your discussion what processes you go through to identify, confront, and resolve problems.

25. Put words in their mouth.

As a family watch a favorite program with the sound off. Try to figure out what each of the characters in the show is saying. Discuss why you believe that based on past knowledge of the program and how the characters are behaving. Encourage your child to think about how he or she would write the script for each of the characters. What are the important things that they say? Why are these considered important?

26. Make your own family TV Guide.

Gather your child/ren and ask them to make a family TV Guide for the upcoming week. What programs would they include? What programs would they make sure not to include? Ask them to give reasons for their choices.

27. Thinking ahead to predict what might happen.

This is a great activity for school-age children who may need guidance in watching their favorite programs while you can’t be there with them. Give your child a written list of 3-5 general questions that they can read before they watch a TV show. Consider such questions as: “What do you think this program will be about? What do you anticipate the main character’s troubles will be? How will he/she resolve them? Why are you watching this show and not doing something else?” Instruct your child to think about the questions while viewing-no need to write anything down-just think. As your child watches, he/she won’t be able to stop thinking about these questions-it’s just how the brain works. Intermittently, ask your child to discuss the TV program with you, along with how this activity helps to think about the program!

28. Ask: “What will happen next?”

This is a simple, yet effective activity. Mute the commercials while your family watches TV together and ask each child and adult what he/she thinks will happen next. There are no right or wrong answers! This gives everyone a chance to engage in creative interplay and then to test his/her “hypothesis” when the show resumes. Children may learn just how predictable and mundane a lot of programs are and soon improve on the scriptwriters, adding their own creative ideas!

29. Record your child’s favorite show.

Then play it back during a long car trip or around a cozy fireplace on a dark winter evening. The purpose of this activity would be for your child to hear the program, without seeing the visuals. Talk about how the characters and their actions change as a result of only hearing the show. Does your child have to listen more intently? Why or why not? What are some crucial distinctions between watching and listening?

30. Encourage your child or teen to be a media creator.

Ultimately what we want is for our children to find ways to creatively express who they are. You can encourage a child to use a digital camera and make a photo collage of a family trip, for instance. Older children and teens can create websites, blogs, even podcasts. Screen technologies are powerful tools and when used intentionally, with specific purposes, our children become media-literate in the process of learning more about their own creativity and unique skills.

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15 Media Activities for Children, ages 3-6

Screen Violence

1. Talk about real-life consequences.

If the screen violence were happening in real life, how would the victim feel? In real life what would happen to the perpetrator of the violence. Compare what’s on the screen to the consequences of what happens when someone hurts another person in the real world.

2. Violence is not the way to solve problems.

Emphasize that hurting another person in any way or destroying property is wrong and won’t solve a person’s problems. Point out to your child that many of the violent cartoon characters never seem to solve their problems from episode to episode, and that to use violence is to act without thinking of the consequences. Tell your child it’s powerful and smart to find peaceful, creative ways to solve problems with other human beings. Choose a problem your child encountered recently such as another child taking a toy away and talk about the reasonable way the problem was resolved or could have been resolved-without hurting.

3. Anger is natural.

Talk about the fact that we all get angry, that it’s normal. It’s what we do with our anger-how we cope with it and express it-that’s important. When screen characters hurt people out of anger, it’s because they have not learned how to deal with their anger. Your child could make a list of screen characters who know how to deal with their anger in positive ways.

4. Count the number of violent acts.

While watching a favorite cartoon with your child, count the number of actual violent actions. Point out that these are harmful to others and you would never allow him/her to do such things to others. Total the number of violent actions at the end of the program and ask your child if he/she thought there were that many. Decide not to watch cartoons or any shows with such violent actions.

5. Talk about real and pretend.

If your child is exposed to a violent movie or video game, it is especially important to talk with him/her about the fact that the images were pretend-like when your child plays pretend and that no one was actually hurt. Make it a common practice to talk about the differences between real and pretend with any TV programs, movies, your child watches. Understanding this concept basic to becoming media-literate!

Screen Advertising

6. Blind taste test.

Show your child how she can test the claims of commercials. Have her do a blind taste test. It can be done with a wide range of foods such as three or four kinds of soda pop, spaghetti sauce, cereal-your child’s favorites. Are the products as great as the commercials claimed? Can she tell the difference between a generic brand and a famous one? Can she identify products by name? Do the commercials make products seem different than they really are? Why or why not? This is a fun activity to do with several children. Have a taste test party!

7. Draw pictures of a feeling.

Suggest that your child draw a picture depicting how he feels after watching two different types of TV commercials. What are the differences between the pictures? Discuss your child’s feelings about the different commercial messages. Picture the buyer. Younger children can watch a commercial and then draw a picture of the type of person they think will buy the product. After discussing the child’s picture, explain how various audience appeals are used in commercials to attract specific audiences.

8. Cartoon ads.

While watching cartoons, your child can look for specific cartoon characters that appear in popular commercials. Explain the differences between the commercial and the cartoon: In the commercial, the character sells a product; in the cartoon, the character entertains us. The next time she watches TV, have her report to you if she sees any cartoon characters selling products.

9. The toy connection.

When visiting a toy store, you and your child can look for toys that have been

advertised on TV or promoted by TV personalities. Point out to him how the toys advertised on TV initially seem more attractive than those he hasn’t seen advertised.

10. Invent a character.

Your child can pick a product, such as a favorite cereal, and create an imaginary character that can be used to sell the product. He/she could draw a picture or role-play the character. Or, using puppets, stage an imaginative commercial for a made-up product. Afterwards discuss with your child what she or he did to tell people about the product. Watch a few commercials and point out basic selling techniques such as making the product looking larger than life, repeating a jingle, and showing happy children using the product.

Screen News

TV news contains elements that may not be appropriate for young children. As much as possible, watch news when your child is in bed or not in the room. Protect your little one from graphic images and topics that she/he is not ready to handle cognitively or emotionally.

Screen Stereotypes

11. Not better, just different.

Children are never too young to start learning the message that differences do not make anyone better than anyone else. Point out how each family member has his or her own individual preferences, habits, ideas, and behaviors. Differences make us all unique and interesting. When your child sees a racist or sexist stereotype on the screen, explain that the writers of the script made an error in portraying the character in that light.

12. Change the picture.

Play a game with your child: When she encounters a screen stereotype, ask her whether other types of people could play that role. For instance, if the secretary is a young woman, explain that men are secretaries, too, and that many older women are very competent secretaries.

13. Girls, boys, and toys.

As you walk through a toy store, point out various toys to your child, asking each time whether the toy is made for a boy or a girl. Ask if any child could just as well play with the toy. Encourage your child to find toys that would be fun for girls and boys to play with. Then, when your child sees toy commercials on TV, point out whether only little boys or little girls are playing with the toys.

14. Play: Who is missing?

Often what children see on the screen does not represent all nationalities and the diversity he or she encounters in preschool, kindergarten, or on the playground. While watching favorite cartoons or movies with your child, discuss who is missing-such as an older person; a disabled person, or a person of a certain race or nationality. You can also discuss what types of people your child encounters more often on the screen-young, glamorous, happy white people usually take up the majority of the visual images with men outnumbering women 3 to 1!

15. Model discussion of screen stereotypes.

When your family watches a favorite TV program or a popular DVD, you can help your youngster identify stereotypical roles, behaviors, and attitudes by holding family conversations to involve your spouse and/or older children. While watching the program or movie, the adults and the older children take notes, tracking whenever they spot a stereotype of age, gender, or race. After watching, turn off the TV/VCR and discuss everyone’s observations. Using each family member’s notes, compile a master list of the stereotypical statements and portrayals that were noted. This discussion can be made more interesting if you taped the program (or replay the DVD in appropriate scene/s), so you can refer back to it as family members discuss the stereotypes they spotted. Your little one will listen to this family media literacy conversation and absorb important information while the others share their ideas.

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22 Tips on What to Wear For a TV Interview

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Recently one of my author clients was featured on FOX News Boston. Before he was interviewed on camera he was nervous but was able to recall the media training that we put him through a few weeks earlier. That, along with a pep talk, and he was good to go.

What about YOU? Are you ready to be interviewed by local or national TV? If you’ve not had media training, believe me it’s too late once you get the call. You may have to get in a car or on a plane within an hour’s notice. It’s too late to get the training then. That’s why you need to be prepared before you get the call.

My experience as a publicist has convinced me that one of the greatest concerns about being interviewed on television is what to wear. For radio or newspaper interviews, fashion doesn’t matter but how you appear is critical for TV. When my clients agree to media coaching, my first choice for them to work with is TJ Walker, CEO of Media Training Worldwide.

TJ Walker is one of the leading authorities on media training in the world. With more than 20 years of media training experience, Walker has trained thousands of CEOs, authors, and experts, including leading government officials in the United States, European Prime Ministers, and African diplomats.

Here’s a quick list of “What to Wear and Not Wear!” that TJ Walker and other media coaches have developed that I share with you now so you can look terrific for your TV interview.

1. Don’t wear white, black or red. White glows and becomes the most noticeable thing on the TV screen. Black is too harsh and can suck up all the light. Reds “bleed” on camera and are distracting.

2. Pastel shirts work well on TV.

3. The safest color on TV is blue.

4. Don’t wear dangly earrings. They distract.

5. Remove jewelry that moves, makes noise, or could hit your microphone.

6. Be wrinkle-free.

7. Don’t wear stripes, herringbone, small intricate designs, or flashy jewelry. They are hard for a TV camera to pick up on.

8. Don’t wear checks.

9. Dress in a simple, boring manner, unless you are a fashion designer.

10. TV viewers should focus on your face and what you say, not your clothes.

11. Men should have about an inch of their shirt cuff showing.

12. Avoid light colored pants.

13. Wear over-the-calf socks so your skin doesn’t show if you cross your legs.

14. Don’t wear more than one ring per hand.

15. Women shouldn’t wear short skirts if you want people to focus on your message.

16. If you wear a dark shirt, dark suit, and dark tie, you will look like you are auditioning to be a hit man on the “Sopranos.”

17. Vests look stuffy on TV.

18. Don’t wear stripes. They dance around on the screen and are distracting.

19. Avoid hair products that add shine.

20. No visible logos or companies or brands, except for your own company logo.

21. People shouldn’t judge you by your appearance, but they will.

22. If you do or wear anything distracting on TV, people will remember that and nothing you say.

Clothes are the major factor in controlling how you appear to viewers. While appearance is critical for success on television you also must be concerned about the words that come out of your mouth, the knowledge you display, and the self-confidence you demonstrate. Media coaches like TJ Walker and marketing experts like myself will make sure you are fully prepared for your big day!

The bottom line: RELAX, you’ll do fine. The butterflies you’re feeling are what will drive you to do your best! Remember, it’s not like they are going to ask you the square root of 656! They’re asking you about your book, your company, your story which you obviously know. Just follow these helpful tips, talk things over with your publicist and you’ll look as good as you sound.

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Best Media Player For Your New 1080p High Definition Television

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This Christmas a lot of people rewarded themselves with a new 1080p HDTV. Sure it is possible to use your existing DVD player or get a shiny new Blu-ray player to use with your new TV. But what is really the best media player for your new system?

Some say an HD media player would be the best choice. These are the size of an external hard drive and play audio and video from USB storage media. There are many different brands to choose from but for an example we’ll use the popular WD TV HD Media Player by Western Digital.

With this device you can play content from any connected USB drive in full HD 1080p with DTS 2.0 digital sound. It plays most audio and video formats and allows you to browse and organize your files from the easy to use interface. You can also transfer and organize files from a digital camera or camcorder. In order to use the media player an additional USB hard drive is required. The unit itself does not come with storage capacity. By using external drives the storage capacity is unlimited. There are many other HD Media Players with similar features.

The newer models also come with streaming media. There are many different brands that offer streaming HD, including D-Link, ASUS, MvixUSA, and Buffalo Link Theater. So what is streaming media? Streaming media is a player with an Internet connection. Some use an Ethernet connection and some are wireless. Either way this should allow us to access all of the media on our computers and network and organize, play, and view files.

So what can we do with these players? We can stream movies and TV shows that we have downloaded from the Internet, as well as watch You Tube videos, listen to our music files, listen to Internet radio, and view our photos and videos on the large screen. If we are entertaining we can set up a cool media show on our set to play in the background, no more burning log DVDs. In the future these devices should continue to improve but for now these are inexpensive and a great way to organize and enjoy your media collection.

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The Truth About Media Addiction

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There is no denying that in the past few decades, TV has become the main hub of several forms of entertainment. At the beginning, turning on the television meant tuning into a few different shows on a handful of networks, with the occasional long feature film thrown in for something really special. But, as the yeas passed, other forms of entertainment found a welcoming home on television screens, namely films from VHS to Blu-rays and video games from a variety of different systems. The latter now represent a significant portion of the entertainment industry with millions of people playing each year. Many believe that video games are actually more popular now with young people than any other form of entertainment.

When television began, all of the shows that you could tune into were very neutral in their tone and purpose. Now, all manner of opinions and images can show up on your TV screen. Are these mediums influencing our emotions and thoughts? And, are people spending too much of their time in front of screens these day? As we added color to television sets, the answers today don’t seem to be black and white.

Are people really addicted to gaming, TV and films?

All of this has led many to believe that TV, video games and films might be an addiction. For example, in an article for the Scientific American Magazine, professors of Journalism and Media Studies Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi came with a uniquely insightful definition for the potential harms of TV that, while more general in scope, is no less accurate:

“When the habit interferes with the ability to grow, to learn new things, to lead an active life, then it does constitute a kind of dependence and should be taken seriously.”

Now, it seems that we have gone far beyond simply using television as a harmless means of entertainment at the end of a long day or for a few hours on the weekend or after school. There are children and teenagers who spend an average of 9 hours per day plugged into some sort of media, not including what they use at school.

What causes this addiction?

The first thing that comes to mind when searching for what exactly makes people addicted to TV, gaming and films is that they are entertaining content. And while this might be true in a few cases, it is hard to think of any content being great enough to justify the excessive number of hours a day that people spend in front of screens.

The amount of time that teens spend in front of the television has doubled in just the last decade. The key to this increase seems to be related to another problem of modern society: Stress. According to Charles N. Ropper, PHD and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC), just as people addicted to drugs and alcohol often consume them to escape from reality, people addicted to TV, gaming and films also seem to use TV to find relief from stress. In fact, the rise of celebrity reality shows, the latest Lady Gaga’s music video, films like the Breaking Dawn series or video games like the latest Angry Birds: All seem to be intended to keep people craving more.

All of these, coupled with our anxiety and desire to forget about the day-to-day problems, can turn TV into the perfect escape. For a few, this escape can become an addiction. One that is virtually free and ready on demand.

So, what is the solution? It might lie in going back to the basics and what people used to do for fun “back in the old days” before we all had televisions, computers and games systems in our home. Exercise and getting outside are proven to relieve far more stress than television or video games ever have. Another killer of stress and anxiety for many is getting out into the world and interacting with others. Extra curricular activities like sports, music or dance are great ways to get teens involved, interested and inspired to live life beyond their multiple screens.

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Roku Channels

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There is no doubt in the minds of many people that Roku is the unrivaled leader among the many types of streaming media providers on the market today. They offer more channels than any other streaming media provider. Of all the providers that offer streaming media to your TV, the number one undisputed leader would have to be, Roku. This is because they have so much to offer when it comes to movies, TV shows, sports, and music.

With hundreds of channels available, you are guaranteed to have a variety of programming to choose from. You’ll be able to choose from public channels or private channels and we’re not talking about low quality channels. With the Roku streaming player you will have access to the some of the best channels that are out on the market. For those that love movies, all the great channels are there for you to access such as: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackel, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and many others.

Movies & TV

The Roku media player brings together a large selection of categories for you to choose from. Users can choose from Movies & TV, Sports, News & Weather, Music, Web TV, and many other popular categories. These channels offer tons of excitement. Most of the channels, as well as many others are available in high definition, making a better way to watch your favorite entertainment.

Sports

Movies and TV shows is not the only entertainment available for you to enjoy. This powerful little box also provides exciting sports content. Hockey fans that have NHL GameCenter Live subscription can access their favorite team and enjoy on demand broadcasts on their TV in HD. Other subscription packages available are the NBA game time and MLB. Plus many other FREE sports channels for any die hard sports fan to enjoy.

Games

The latest category to be added to the feature category channels is games. Yes, it’s true now there are games channels for you to access. They are proud to offer you a rich variety of some of the best games available. Some of the most popular games include, Angry Birds, Galaga, Texas Hold’em, Sudoku, and Jeopardy. Plus they are also constantly adding new game channels to their impressive collection.

There is much to like about this streaming player. By having access to Roku channels you will always have some kind of entertainment to keep you entertained. There is no denying that this is the best when it comes to streaming the best in entertainment.

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Streaming Media Players – Top 3 Been Purchased Online

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Streamers (the tiny popular black boxes) are the new rage and are becoming more and more available, with a huge choice the price is also dropping dramatically with competition, which is fantastic news for consumers. Everyone wants the best and highest quality but would also like the most valuable and smallest price, and gladly, this is very possible. Here, are the top three Streamer Media Players been purchased today!

No 3 Sony BDP-S570 3D Blu-ray Disc Player

The BDP-S570 is the new and improved model of the Sony BDP-S300 Blu Ray Disk player wi. The fast load system is excellent and much faster than the older 300s models. The set up is equally as simple and straight forward, and access to Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, You Tube, etc. is at the click of a button.

The picture and sound is fantastic, and there are no lag times in watching anything, and the increased speed in the network allows true High Definition playbacks. Though this is a very popular streamer been purchased at the moment, at $150 I still believe there are better quality streamers available at a cheaper price.

No 2 Apple TV MC572LL/A

This is the system I personally own (so I will try not to be biased ha!) This is the latest from Apple (2010) and is an amazing compliment to your home theater. It has so many features, yet so simple to use, allowing you to stream whatever is on your iTunes to your TV and home theater system. It has built in support for Netflix, You Tube and a few other internet based media content providers and the picture quality is superb.

The menu is very simple – Movies, TV, Internet, Computer and the settings allows you to change the various Apple TV options. At under $100, the Apple TV is competitively priced with other streaming options.

No 1 Roku XD Streaming Player 1080p

Roku players are quite possibly the most bought streamers been purchased online and are one of Amazons top sellers. This little box allows you to instantly stream tons of entertainment on your TV, watch over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu Plus and more.

The set up is extremely easy. You can listen to almost any radio station in the country free and watch YouTube clips on your big TV as well as send the sound to your stereo system. The Roku Remote is simple to use and it provides access to NetFlix suggested titles and search.

These are a nifty little box alright and at a price of $79.99 you can see why they are the most popular Streamers been purchased, so cheap and great value.

I hope this article can help you decide on a Streamer Player, but remember to do your research before purchasing, reading reviews may help but for every great review, there is always somebody who has has a bad experience.

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Boost Your Sales With Local TV Commercials

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Toronto has had a long list of successful TV commercials over the past decades, and these TV commercials have greatly influenced consumer behavior. Television is a powerful and effective medium in introducing products or services to the masses.

Among all forms of media, television still has the highest penetration rate. In Toronto, people from all walks of life have easy access to television. According to the Canadian Television Bureau, in 2010, male and female adults who live in the city – specifically those aged 18 and above – spent an average of 27 hours per week in front of the television.

Moreover, in the same year, the total reach of television in 2010 during primetime, which covers the hours between 7 to 11pm, has gone up to 98%. As a result, Canadian TV has a 29.5% share in net media revenues. This is the largest share among all media, including the internet. These facts only prove that TV still has the most power or reach when it comes to generating sales.

In essence, the commercials Toronto TV stations screen, or TV advertising in general, serves both producers and consumers through several functions. First, they create the demand for advertised products and services for targeted market groups in the locality. Next, they create competition between advertisers that offer the same kind of products or services. They also educate consumers about products and services available on the market. Finally, they change consumer behaviors and attitudes towards certain products and services.

The commercials Toronto TV stations screen can also have extra functions depending on what product or service they are advertising. In previous years, it has become a practice for big corporations to launch their social responsibility campaigns through television. These campaigns are made primarily to remind or educate people about certain aspects of social responsibility without necessarily selling a product or service.

In conclusion, television as an advertising medium, specifically the TV commercials Toronto producers make, does not only effectively function to boost the sales of a certain product or service but also to influence consumer attitudes in terms of preferences and information management.

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History of the Media, Radio, and Television

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When were the forms of media created? When did advertising first show up? Who owns the media?

Creation of the various forms of media

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Newspapers & Magazines ~ 1880

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Movies ~ 1910

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Television ~ 1945

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Cable Television ~ 1980’s

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Satellite Television, Internet, Digital Communication ~ End of the 20th century

In 1920, radio was first developed, primarily for use by the military, strictly for sendingHistory of the Media – Old Radios messages from one location to another. David Sternoff, the then-president of RCA, first had the idea to sell radio sets to consumers, or what were then called radio receivers. However, consumers needed a reason to buy radios, so RCA was the first to set up radio stations all over the country. Between 1920 and 1922, 400 radio stations were set up, starting with KBKA in Pittsburgh. Stations were also set up by universities, newspapers, police departments, hotels, and labor unions.

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By 1923, there were 600 radio stations across the United States, and $83 million worth of sets had been sold.

The biggest difference in radio before and after 1923 was that the first advertising was not heard on the radio until 1923. RCA at the time was made up of four companies:

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AT&T

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General Electric

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United Fruit

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Westinghouse

United Fruit was one of the first global corporations, and one of the first to advertise on the radio. The AT&T division of RCA first thought about selling time on the air to companies, which marked the start of “toll broadcasting.” WEAF was the first station to operate this way, causing widespread outrage, and accusation of “polluting the airwaves.”

Because of this controversy, the practice of selling advertising time was called “trade name publicity.” Sponsors linked their name with a program on the air, rather than advertising a specific product in a 30 second “commercial” as we know it today.

Why did AT&T decide to experiment with charging companies for air time?

AT&T was not making any money from broadcasting at the time since they only made transmitters, not receivers. They only made money when new radio stations bought the equipment required to broadcast. They did not make money from consumers buying radios.

AT&T also started the practice of paying performers for their time on the air, rather than only volunteers, which was standard practice for radio content up until that point.

The first radio network

In 1926, RCA set up the first radio network, NBC. They decided it was more effective and efficient to produce shows in New York City, and then link the main radio station with stations all across the country, connected by AT&T (another RCA company) phone lines. (Now television networks are linked by satellite to their affiliates).

This was the beginning of the network affiliates system. The ideal network makes sure everyone in the country is capable of listening to their signal. NBC at the time had two philosophies:

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Radio content was a “public service,” whose function was to sell radios.

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Radio content was designed to generate income from advertising.

History of the Media In 1927, the second network was formed. It was CBS, started by William Paley. Paley was the first to think that networks could make money strictly from advertising, not even getting involved in the sales of radios. Like AT&T, CBS did not make radios. From the start, they made their money from selling advertising.

The rising of radio networks caused the Radio Act of 1927 to be passed, which established the FRC, or what is now known as the FCC, to allocate broadcast licenses. The need for such an organization was brought on by the fact that airwaves are limited resources, and broadcasting itself is a scarce public resource. By the 1930’s, the structure of radio have been set by the commercial format, although advertising never dominated radio like it would television later on.

In the 1920’s and ’30’s, radio programs were divided into two groups. Sponsored shows, which had advertisers, and unsponsored shows, which did not. The radio station paid for the unsponsored shows. The sponsored shows, on the other hand, were created entirely by the company sponsoring the show; advertisers were totally in charge of the radio station’s content. The content became advertising. Radio set the precedent for television, in that the same companies that controlled radio early on went on to control television.

Soon thereafter, television inherited the structure of radio. In the ’40’s, during the rise of television, RCA also held a monopoly on all television sets sold. By 1945-1955, advertising had taken over all of television. Television was organized around the premise of selling things. The entire television industry was creating a political atmosphere of suspicion and fear. Senator Joseph McCarthy, the founder of McCarthyism, which was based on the fear of Communism, and the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee, began to question people involved in television about their beliefs and associations.

What affected television in its early stages?

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Politics (McCarthyism / HUAC).

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Blacklists: From almost the inception of television, many writers, directors, and actors were considered to be pro-Communist and/or un-American.

Certain topics were totally off-limits at the time for television, particularly issues of race relations in the 1960’s. Overall, networks were not happy with the political situation for television in the 1960’s, both in terms of the blacklists, and of the fact that when every show had one sponsor, that sponsor controlled the entire program. Networks preferred to control the program, by way of moving to multiple sponsors/advertisers, where networks would retain control of the show, and advertisers would buy time in between the programming.

In the 1950’s, networks decided to eliminate the practice of sponsors controlling the shows with a move to spot selling, or advertisements between programs, as we know it today. What caused the move to spot selling?

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Discovery of fraud in the quiz shows on television. Quiz shows were extremely popular at the time, and were liked by the networks, the sponsors, and the viewers alike. It turned out, however, that quiz shows were largely fixed. Charles Van Doren on “21” became a huge star due to his repeated wins, until it came out that the whole thing had been fixed. In the case of “The $64,000 Question,” the owner of Revlon was personally hand-selecting the winners and losers on the show.

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It was becoming financially difficult for just one advertiser to support an entire show.

Around this same time came the inception of ratings to measure a show’s popularity. Ratings, quite simply, measure the number of people watching a show. To understand why ratings are so important, it’s crucial to understand how the television industry works, through three questions, and their respective answers:

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Who owns television? [The networks]

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What is sold on television? [Viewer’s time, not television shows]

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Who are the customers of television? [Advertisers, not viewers]

This might be a counterintuitive concept for some. The networks, which own television, areHistory of the Media – Old Television the buyers of shows, not the sellers. On the other hand, they sell our eyeballs, so to speak, to advertisers. Networks want the maximum possible profit from buying and selling time, both viewers’ time, and advertisers’ time.

The primary measure of television ratings, which determine the price of that time being bought and sold, is AC Nielsen, an independent company which provides information as to who watches what on television. Currently, about 4,000 households are used to represent the national viewing of television. In the 1980’s, only 1,200 households were used. Some households have an electronic device installed on th
eir television which tracks what they watch, while others keep a diary of viewing habits.

There are two measures for determining a show’s audience. One is the rating, and the other is the share.

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Rating: Percentage of total homes with televisions tuned into a particular show.

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Share: Percentage of those watching television at a particular time who are tuned into a particular show.

The share is always greater than the rating. Ratings are more important for advertisers, and share is more important to the networks.

Example:

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Total households with televisions: 150 million

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Total households watching television at 8pm on Monday nights: 90 million

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Total households watching American Idol at 8pm on Monday nights: 45 million

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Therefore: Rating: 30, Share: 50

It’s important to note how many factors can skew the results. Shows cost producers much more than the networks typically pay them for those shows. The way for producers to make money is by getting the networks to renew the show, in order to have a shot at making money from syndication on other channels, also knows as reruns. That is the case when individual stations (say for example, the Miami affiliate of ABC wants to carry Seinfeld), buy the rights to a show from the producers of that show. Shows that last only one season, for the most part, lose millions of dollars. One of the most important factors in whether shows will be renewed or not is their rating.

This brings us to how ratings can be skewed. For example, if a show has a 20 share, and it needs a 25 share to be renewed for another season, what might the producers do? In principle, they need to convince another 5% of the people watching television when their show is on to watch their show; this is no simple task, as that involves convincing millions of people. However, since the ratings are based on those 4,000 Nielsen households, that means that they could convince just 200 Nielsen households to watch their show, which would increase the share from 20 to 25. This is why Nielsen households must be kept totally secret from the networks. When the Nielsen households have leaked to the networks, one way which they got people to watch their show was by offering viewers a small sum of money for filling out a survey about a commercial which they were told would play only during a particular show. Since they had to watch that channel while their show was on, this would boost the share.

Once ratings are determined, advertising prices are set by two factors:

* The size of the audience.

* The demographics (income, age, gender, occupation, etc) of the audience.

In short, the job of television programs is to collect our time as a product, which they then sell to advertisers. Programs have to support the advertising, delivering viewers in the best possible state of mind for buying when the time for the commercials comes, which brings us to the Golden Age of Television.

The 1950’s are considered the “Golden Age of Television.” During this time, something called the “Anthology Series,” where different actors each week took part in a show gained History of the Media – I Love Lucypopularity across the board…that is, with everyone except for advertisers. The anthology series format was not right for advertisers, as it covered topics which involved psychological confrontations which did not leave the viewers in the proper state of mind for buying the products shown to them between program segments. The subject matter of the anthology series was of the type that undermined the ads, almost making them seem fraudulent.

This brought up the question of what to network executives actually want shows to do? The answer is not to watch a program that makes them feel good, makes them laugh, or excites them, but rather to watch the television for a set amount of time. With so many new shows being proposed, standards began to be intentionally, or unintentionally, laid out for what shows could and couldn’t do. Risks could only be taken at the beginning and/or end of shows. Laugh tracks were conceived to tell the audience when to laugh. Programs began being tested with audiences prior to being put on television and/or radio. Show writers now had to write shows that would test well.

Naturally, this caused many of the same elements and themes to appear in all shows. This was the beginning of recombinant television culture, where the same elements are endlessly repeated, recombined, and mixed.

This same culture is what perpetuated the idea that people watch television, not specific shows. While people certainly choose to watch certain shows instead of others, people less commonly choose to watch television instead of other things. People watch television. Regardless of what was on, television viewing rates were extremely stable.

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