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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Senator Rockefeller began the question period talking about children as consumers of media; Jim Steyer stepped in to remind the Committee that children are media creators, not just consumers, and that heightens the need for digital literacy, and knowing the "rules of the road."

Senator Mark Begich (AK) is asking questions first: he is concerned about the 6-11 age group gap in educational programming. Without mandatory requirements, he asked, how do we get good content for that age group? And how do we get kids to watch it -- his 6-year-old has already migrated to older kids' programming.

Gary Knell responded that kids are natural media learners; by the time they enter school, they are digital learners. Sesame Workshop is talking with the Department of Education about media uses that bridge the home-school connection.

The problem is that there is not a lot of advertising money for this age group, except for entertainment. We have to figure out a way to get the best of Hollywood and the best of Silicon Valley working together to captivate and educate this age group.

Begich followed up this same question with Cyma Zarghami.

Nickelodeon research with kids, since the early days, found that they could best help kids by guiding them in navigating the world. They get formal education at school, but want support in relevant social learning from TV. As kids watch kids on Nick that look like them and have the same problems (or exaggerated versions of the same problems), they gain self-esteem.

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