Media Cultures

Professor Andrew Burn explores the way in which media cultures influence children in the playground. He suggests that media culture does not debase or displace traditional playground games but instead it has enriched children’s play and has been doing so for generations.

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Prof. Andrew Burn:

There’s a question about how the cultures of playground games are related more generally to children’s cultural lives. People often worry that children’s media cultures and their supposedly traditional playground cultures are somehow opposed, or that their traditional games are somehow undermined or debased or displaced by games like computer games. In fact we think the opposite is probably the case. There’s always been elements of their media cultures implicated in their playground games, and the Opie’s has charted ways in which playground games exhibited influences like advertising jingles or pop songs or songs and theme tunes from films and television, and this is still very much the case. We can still see children performing their favourite pop songs or enacting narratives from reality television. Newer media, such as computer games and online participatory media are also in evidence, so we can see children enacting games that can be tracked back to particular video game titles, combat style games, for instance, or games involving stealth and chasing. So we can see that in many ways play has actually become richer, partly because of its relationship with children’s media cultures offering more possibilities for imaginative and dramatic scenarios on the playground than has ever been the case before.

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