Announcing a New Series: Antenna Kids

hair bandFor the rest of this week, Antenna will be kicking off a new, continuing series: Antenna Kids. The charge for the series is simple and broad – to engage critically with media for children.

The idea came very selfishly from my own sense that many Antenna readers and contributors have kids, work with kids, and/or work on kids media, and you might help me engage thoughtfully with the mediated environment that my daughter is moving through or will soon move through. Too much of the received wisdom on kids media comes from hacks and moral panickers, or from the press’ crude readings of complex quantitative studies that non-number-literate journalists over-simplify. So what do those of us in media and cultural studies, or in correlate, neighbor fields have to say instead? What would a feminist media studies scholar who knows her kids’ media recommend I show an almost three year-old? What issues in the aforementioned received wisdom need to be challenged, revisited, replaced? What’s not on my radar that should be; apparently there’s this show called Breaking Bad that I’m told I need to watch at every conference, but what television shows, books, games, films, and more am I not hearing about that might interest, fascinate, and challenge my daughter, and which texts should she and I run away from screaming?

The series began with that selfish idea, but surely the answers to these questions could help many of us, whether as parents, scholars, and/or specialists.

1The posts that follow this one will be the interesting ones, and will give a taste of what the series could do and be. But the series will need more writers, so please let me know at jagray3 at wisc dot edu if you’re interested.

The series will take two forms:

1. traditional blog posts.

2. roundtables. For the latter, we would love to get a whole host of names of interested people who’d be willing to field the occasional short question via email (such as my above one – “what would a feminist media studies scholar who knows her kids’ media recommend I show a three year-old?”), and to type up 100-300 words in response. We can then collate some of these and begin the discussion with a post that hopefully others would contribute to in the comments. The roundtable model acknowledges that some people have no answers, are busy right now, etc., and thus we’d always ask more people than we need to get a post going, so that only some need to reply.

Perhaps the only other parameter to set right now is that by “kids” and “children,” we’re thinking around 0-11. Where we set that end line is fuzzy, partly because we hope to have writers from around the world contribute, and the cultural hingepoints are different in different countries. But we’re interested largely in infancy to the end of elementary school.

We hope the series will be of interest to many of you, and that many of you will write for it.

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4 comments for “Announcing a New Series: Antenna Kids

  1. Colin Tait
    November 18, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Such a great idea! As a parent I am now someone who now primarily watches kids media instead of my own programs, so I now consider myself an expert. Sign me up!!

  2. Erin Copple Smith
    November 18, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    I’m in! Not only do I have a kid (who does not yet articulate his own preferences, other than his proclivity for chewing on the remote), but I’m teaching a kids/tweens/teens media class in the spring. Great idea!

  3. Cat
    November 19, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Sounds like an excellent idea. I would also like to look at the adult fans of kids work and the times when kids media tries to appeal to adults.

  4. Kyle Conway
    November 19, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    I’m on board. I’ve seen all the My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic episodes multiple times. I have carried on informed conversations about MLP:FiM with bronies, one of whom is kind enough to deliver Pony-themed trinkets for my daughter after he goes to conventions. And I’ve shown my daughter episodes of Star Trek: Next Gen with Q, so she knows what Discord really looks like.

    All that to say, let’s do a roundtable on Ponies.

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