Children’s Shared Understanding of Media Marketing

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LeBlanc, Lyse Anne
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Through an examination of the contextual relationship between theory of mind and media literacy, this exploratory research study contributes to the fields of both education and psychology, as well as the broader digital economy, in its production of knowledge about children’s understanding and for their well-being. “Children think differently from adults and there are qualitative differences in the way children of different ages understand the world around them” (Greig & Taylor, 1991, p. 31)—a world, today, that greatly encompasses media. In Western societies, where contemporary digital and electronic media forms and the marketing messages they disseminate are primary social and cultural influences, it is crucial that parents and educators have a solid understanding of children’s developmental ability to interpret and engage critically with media forms. Theory of mind is the ability to understand the mental states and intentions of others and ourselves (Premack & Woodruff, 1978; Doherty, 2009; Astington & Edward, 2010; Miller, 2012). If we consider that the development of a mature theory of mind enables individuals to explain, predict, and manage others’ behaviours and is considered to be an integral component for developing the ability to reason logically and abstractly (Frye & Moore, 1991), it seems both logical and plausible to consider it in relation to the necessary skills for thinking critically about media.
Media literacy, media marketing, education, psychology, digital economy