Animal Connections

It can be argued some animals are smarter than humans, but it can also be argued that humans are smarter than some animals. Be careful of which animals you talk about because Chimpanzees and Dolphins, for example can blow your mind out of the water with their intelligence and they are so much smarter than we are. But compare humans to say a Panda Bear or a Turkey, and we as humans are so much smarter.

Anthropomorphism, according to Literary Devices (2017) is defined as ‘a technique in which a writer ascribes human traits, ambitions, emotions or entire behaviour to animals, non-human beings, natural phenomena or objects’. For example: The tea pots, candle stick and clock in the Beauty and the Beast film act and behave as humans do, thus this is anthropomorphism. The word is derived from the Greeks as ‘Anthropos’ meaning ‘human’ and ‘morphe’ meaning ‘form’ therefore ‘human form’.

It’s evident if you spend a lot of time with an animal (one that doesn’t have short term memory loss, like a fish of course), they will grow attached to you, and you will grow attached to them if there is love and affection there. It is often evident with domesticated animals such as cats and dogs. Dogs especially will grow attached to you if you play and feed them frequently.

doggo and human
https://au.pinterest.com/nmcclibrary/dog

You can teach them tricks and tame them with treats which is an incentive to learn and obey their owner, this creates a special bond between the owner and the animal – one where emotion is felt and does not break easily. Kennedy S (2005), wrote an article “More than man’s best friend: a look at attachment between humans and their canine companions” which discovered that dogs can allow for social connections if the human is open to it. She wrote “people appear to look to companion animals for emotional comfort and understanding, rather than more pragmatic services. This shift signifies the belief that dogs can be fully functioning social companions” (Kennedy S, 2005).

 

Take the example of Christian the Lion. A lion cub raised by humans when he was found in a small cage not living life to the fullest. Anthony Bourke otherwise known as ‘Ace’ and John Rendall two Australians bought the cub in England in 1969. They raised the cub and called him Christian and when Christian was getting too big (and too expensive) they decided to return him to the wild in Kenya. Ace and John created a special bond with Christian and became emotionally attached. Even though a lion is considered a wild animal, there’s nothing stopping a human from having an emotional connection – especially when it is raised from a small cub.

 

Even though Christian was released into the wild in 1970, Ace and John still went back to visit Christian. Christian was living in the wild for a year after Ace and John decided to return and were aware of the huge risks. They could not be sure if Christian was going to remember them or attack them. As the video showed, the emotional bond between Christian the Lion and Ace and John his owners was still there years down the track as he greeted them with a big lion hug.

If the animal is older it makes it harder to connect with as they have already adopted their characteristics and personality. In the case of Christian the Lion and his owners, they were able to form a bond at a young age which kept strong even through years of separation. Kennedy S (2005) suggests in her study that humans can have special bonds with their animals (specifically dogs in her research), in which ‘they have been able to achieve a special type of communication and understanding between their companion and themselves.’ She also suggests ‘those who have never held strong emotional intimate relationships with other humans might claim the same.’ This comes down to our emotional intelligence and how we are able to connect and empathise with others which can be reflected in connections with animals.

If you have ever had a pet, you will know this bond that I am talking about. The bond where your dog is always excited to see you come home from your day out and when they are sad to see you leave.

 

References

Bourke A 2016, Christian’s Story – Moving to Kenya, viewed 29 March 2017, <http://www.alioncalledchristian.com.au/the-book/christians-story/#movingtokenya>.

Bourke A 2016, Welcome to a Lion called Christian, viewed 29 March 2017, <http://www.alioncalledchristian.com.au/>.

Kennedy S 2005, More than man ‘s best friend: A look at attachment between humans and their canine companions, University of South Florida, p. 1-11, 33-35.

Literary Devices, 2017, Anthropomorphism – Definition of Anthropomorphism, viewed 29 March 2017, <https://literarydevices.net/anthropomorphism/>.

SPFW21 (YouTube User) 2008, Christian the Lion, viewed 29 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btuxO-C2IzE>.

 

 

Poverty vs. Poverty Porn

The media often shows the suffering that we don’t need to see, suffering that doesn’t bring an impact on individuals but only gives a bias opinion. What the media fails to show is the suffering we need to be aware of, the issues across the world such as poverty that aren’t brought to our attention unless we go out looking for the information.

Instead of the media focusing on the unwanted negatives, they should be focusing on issues that need attention to create change in the world. They should be focusing on issues such as poverty, domestic violence, depression and suicide; The critical issues that are impacting individual lives and should be use to educate others about particular issues within society and the world.

Jack Black travelled to Uganda and created a small documentary to help educate fortunate people, like us, around the world about the real issues. You can see his documentary below:

Even though the video has had 120,000 views on YouTube, it can be classified as an Impact Movement as the world needs to know about these issues. His campaign then joined with the Red Nose Campaign which focuses on ‘child safety and empowerment, attempting to end world poverty and help those who need it most’ (Red Nose Day, 2017).

The way I would describe Poverty Porn is images that have been captured and released to the media for fortunate viewers to look upon an image and feel good about themselves / the situation. It is something that should not be looked passed as something that gives us pleasure because we are more fortunate than another person.

Domestic Violence is an issue that the media doesn’t show enough of because they want to protect viewers and there are apparently better news stories to talk about. The media struggles to show the facts of how many people are affected by this and provide help the people who need it. While the government is helping by providing funding to Domestic Violence organisations and creating awareness, it can be questioned if they are doing enough for those affected. There are multiple services (but not limited to) Australia wide that provide support for victims, such as:

  • Domestic Violence Crisis Support
  • Domestic Violence NSW
  • Lifeline – Support line
  • Refuge
  • White Ribbon Campaign
  • Youth off the Streets
  • Salvation Army

Here are some statistics from ANROWS (2012) and Domestic Violence Prevention Centre (2017):

  • At least one women a week is killed by a partner/former partner in Australia
  • One in 19 men have experiences sexual or physical violence, compare this to the One in Six women that have experienced sexual or physical violence.
  • 58% of victims have never contacted the police
  • 61% of victims have had children in their care when the violence occurred.
  • 62% of incidents occur in the home.

Eminem and Rihanna’s song ‘Love The Way You Lie’ is an example of domestic violence in the media where it is used for entertainment aka Poverty Porn. When the song was released in 2010 it caused  an uproar because the video clip is a classic domestic violence scenario. MTV News wrote an article “Warns of the cycle of abuse”, they said; “One moment, a couple sleeps in each other’s arms, the next, they’re violently fighting, tossing bed sheets. Later they kiss passionately, pressed up against a wall the man has just punctured with his fist” (Thomas R, 2010). While some say it’s creating awareness for domestic violence and the vicious cycle that people put themselves through convincing themselves they their partner loves them, it may also encourage certain behaviours that are not accepted in society – but because they have seen it from popular artists, then they see it as okay. People listen to ‘Love The Way You Lie’ as entertainment/pleasure and are not seeing the bigger picture behind the lyrics and the video clip that provokes a situation of domestic violence.

The media needs to be cautious in the way that they represent domestic violence as it can cause major issues long term for struggling individuals that are victims or know someone who is.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service: 1800 737 732

Police: 000 or 112

 

 

 

References

Bryant W et al., Homicide in Australia: 2010-11 to 2011-12, viewed 27 March 2017, <http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/21-40/mr23.html>.

Comic Relief, 2017, Red Nose Day – Our Impact, Viewed 20 March 2017, <https://rednoseday.org/our-impact/>.

Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc., 2017, Domestic Violence Statistics, viewed 20 March 2017, <http://www.domesticviolence.com.au/pages/domestic-violence-statistics.php>.

EminemVEVO, 2010, Eminem – Love the way you lie ft. Rhianna, viewed 24 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uelHwf8o7_U>.

Hayden E, 2010, Love the way you Lie: What’s Eminem Trying to say?, viewed 20 March 2017, <https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/08/love-the-way-you-lie-what-s-eminem-trying-to-say/344563/>.

Thomas R, 2010, Eminem’s ‘Love the way you lie’ warns of the cycle of abuse, viewed 22 March 2017, <http://www.mtv.com/news/1645285/eminems-love-the-way-you-lie-warns-of-the-cycle-of-abuse/>.

VEXhomie, 2015, Jack Black brought to tears after meeting homeless kid, viewed 18 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qreSf170bjk>.

The Selfie: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A selfie is an artwork of a person that gets put on display for public eyes to see (Evans N, 2017). It dates back centuries ago and has developed over time to something that people often question now a days. Urban Dictionary (2009) defines a selfie differently as it focuses on using Social Media as a platform to post and share. It also explains that it needs to be taken by the person in the photo itself.

According to Google the first selfie was taken in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, although I think that we can all agree that self portraits, even though they were not take by a camera, have been around for longer than we can think back to as self painted portraits were popular when cameras hadn’t even been invented.

To help me explain all of this history, I found this YouTube Video where this kid explains everything the way I wanted to, check it out!

 

 

Since Alex has done a great job of explaining everything I was going to focus on, lets look at the moral panics of the selfie, how selfies now a days are being used for great issues and campaigns, and also how they are creating issues.

Moral Panics become an issue or a panic when certain ways and “practices are adopted within society by young people, women, or people of colour” (Cohen, 2002). The biggest panic about the selfie is the sexualisation that some females (and males) present in their photos. Sexualisation has become a big issue in society now a days and is now captured by individuals themselves. Cleavage, bare flesh and not enough smiles has become the age where sexualisation has grown rapidly in the photos that we take today. Consciously or not, they are taken to make ourselves look and feel good about ourselves and to get the most ‘likes’ on our photos. Images get taken most of the time only to be shared onto some form of a social media platform, whether it be, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and so forth. Social media has now become “the broadcasting tool to create and advertise the personal brand. Their online avatar spruiks the image they want to sell to their peers” (Gorman V, 2013). To reduce the panic, one can only monitor and control the sensible usage of what young people do with their social media accounts along with who and what they are sharing.

Selfies while they can be sexualised and can demean individuals, they can also be used for creating awareness for issues that happen within the world. A great example of a campaign that went international was the ‘No Makeup Selfie Challenge’. It was created to produce awareness and to raise money for Cancer Research in the UK. It took over Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter in the matter of days and trended for months reaching people all around the world, even celebrities were putting their two cents in.

Creating awareness about big issues and getting thousands of people around the issue to support the agency or people involved is going to be successful of Social Media is used as it is the biggest communication platform in the world and can reach hundreds of thousands of people in the matter of seconds with a simple hashtag (#).

Another great example is the “It’s  okay to talk” campaign where males took a stance against depression and suicide within the male population to create awareness. The Campaign was driven by UK Rugby League player Luke Ambler after his brother in law committed suicide in 2014. It took men around the world by storm as the statistics came into the open and started to be talked about. The caption on the photos posted stated:

In 2014, 174 males aged 20-24 years died by suicide, considering all causes of death this accounted 34.9% of deaths among 20-24 year old males. That is a horrible percentage for such a young demographic. In addition, the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 is suicide. In 2014, 2160 took their own life in Australia. That’s 6 men every day, 1 man every 4 hours!

41% of men who contemplated suicide felt they could not talk about their feelings and only 20% of people know that suicide is the most likely cause of death for men age under 45.
People need to remember that a person is not inferior if they experience depressing or suicidal thoughts and more importantly it is not weak to talk about those thoughts with others, in fact it is probably one of the bravest things a person can to do.

So if you have something troubling you please talk to your friends or family! And to those who know of someone doing it tough, make sure you talk to them!!!

While selfies can make a positive impact around the world through making awareness toward particular issues there are also some issues that can be raised with selfies themselves. Like discussed before from Gorman, the selfie is about broadcasting and advertising your personal brand which can be an issue. Why you make ask? There are perfectionist in the world, and people that care (too much) about their image and how they are portrayed and if they can’t get that perfect selfie and don’t like how they look, serious issues may arise for some – serious  issues being depression, low self-esteem and suicide. One particular news story that is mentioned in ‘What Does the Selfie Say? The Global Phenomenon’ by Senft & Baym (This weeks reading) was the UK teen (Danny) that attempted suicide because he was not satisfied with the quality and outcome of his selfie. Aldridge and Harden reported for the Mirror UK that Danny left school at 16, lost weight to make himself feel better and took over 200 selfies a day which consumed 10 hours of his day. His mum Penny saved him from his overdose and has been treated for his technology addiction, OCD, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (Excessive anxiety about person appearance). Danny told Mirror UK that he would often get bullied online by the comments he would get on the selfies he posted, but when he did get a nice comment he would be on a high. Although Danny had a life saving outcome to his story, there are many that don’t. While this is an extreme case of a negative impact of selfies, it is important to not forget the lesser extremes – the people that don’t appreciate their body, looks and way of life.

All in all, the Selfie has taken the world by storm with its campaigns, history and communication through networks that it is an ever developing product that will be around for centuries more.

If you or someone you know needs help you can contact the following:

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

 

 

References

Aldridge G et al. 2014, The selfie addict that took TWO HUNDREAD a day – and tried to kill himself when he couldn’t take perfect photo, viewed 19 March 2017, <http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/selfie-addict-took-two-hundred-3273819>.

Baym N K, Senft T M 2015, What does the selfie say? Investigating the Global Phenomenon, The International Journal of Communication, pp. 1 – 14.

Cohen, S 2002, Folks devils and moral panics: The creation of the mods and rockers (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Evans, N 2017, The Self, University of Wollongong, NSW Australia.

Gorman V 2013, Social Media, sexualisation and the selfie generation, viewed 19 March 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-23/gorman-the-selfie-generation/4974132>.

Press Association 2014, No-Makeup Selfies raise £8m for Cancer Research UK in six days, viewed 19 March 2017, <https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/25/no-makeup-selfies-cancer-charity>.

Unickle A 2017, The Evolution of the Selfie, viewed 19 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waxk0tGm2H0>.

Urban Dictionary 2009, Selfie definition, viewed 18 March 2017, <http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Selfie>.

Wilson, G 2016, Why guys are getting personal online – the social media campaign driven by the boys, viewed 19 March 2017, <http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/why-guys-are-getting-personal-online–the-social-media-campaign-driven-by-the-boys/news-story/b18cb728398904d8ec3710c567acf5ac>.

 

Reflection of Traffic

Hey Sam, what’s traffic?

Traffic: the movement of people or vehicles along the streets, water or air. It could be heavy traffic (which everyone hates) or no traffic (which everyone loves) (Dictionary 2016). Or there is Trafficking that is the illegal trades of people or goods for exploitation purposes (Australian Federal Police 2016).

Hold up, we’re talking about ONLINE traffic not human trafficking or transportation traffic!

Well, in that case then online traffic is the sending and receiving of data by the number of visits to a website (Marketing Terms 2016).

Hmm… Much better and much more relevant.

Let’s talk specifics:

When I became aware that it is actually really important to have people viewing your blog and important to make it discoverable and we were challenged to improve the traffic to our blogs I first thought that it was going to be impossible, because hardly anyone who follows me actually reads my blog. Although this has allowed me to only improve my blog and add necessary things that were needed. I realised that the only people that actually read my blogs are the tutorial teachers that mark my blogs for assignments, as you could see in the stats that my blog views on word press would spike at that time of the semester. When I started this subject, I would just blog and that was it, I only saw it purely for academic and university assignment purposes and not for anything else. I struggled to see the purpose of getting people to read my blogs – now it is becoming more clearly I have found that I enjoy blogging more and I see it much more than just for assignments and compulsory blogging.

Since assessment one (1) I have taken on the feedback to improve my blog, my writing and to gather traffic, after reading the comments from my tutor I realised that my blog needed to undergo a major facelift. I’ve done some tweaking to get the most out of my WordPress site and hope to keep it going throughout my degree, and hopefully after graduating also as it can be used as a portfolio. The following points are ways that I have improved my blog:

  • Regular tweeting
  • Adding a twitter column to my site
  • Tag and category usage
  • Updated the appearance of the blog
  • Having personalised posts and not just posting for uni
  • Use of images even creating a GIF
  • The use of hyperlinks on the blogs backing up my referencing

Every time I post a blog, I now like to tweet to the twitter-sphere and let them know that I have uploaded a blog. I will always tag it #BCM240 to attract the attention of fellow students and teachers. If I have enough characters, I will also use the hashtag (#) tool to attract more attention. Having done this for the last 3 or 4 weeks, I have noticed a spike in views to my blog, it was a small spike, but it was a start. Here is a sample of a blog that I tweeted out for week 9’s blog:

screenshot-8

From the image above you can also see that I tweet regularly, whether it is a retweet about something exciting happening (The Chainsmokers new song ‘All we know’ – if you haven’t heard it, go check it out!). Or even if I am tweeting about something on TV, I am learning the ways of tweeting and understanding the importance of generative traffic to your sites (yes I am a major amateur to Twitter).

screenshot-9screenshot-10

On my Blog site, when I revamped it, I did a few things which I personally think made it more appealing. Firstly put categories into tabs on my main page to allow viewers to find blogs easier. You can see this in the above picture. I feel that this makes it easier for UOW readers to find what they are looking for. When I graduate, I plan on changing these because I am aware that readers are probably unlikely to understand what the subject codes mean, but for now, my main audience is Communication and Media audiences. Secondly I added a twitter column to the side of my blog along with a tags section. I found this more appealing visually as well as it having links to other social media accounts of mine attracting more attention to my Twitter account, thus giving followers regular updates of my blog.

 

During the break I was lucky enough to get out and explore and I have always loved taking photos so I decided to add in a “Creative Editing” Category to my WordPress site. Having added this section allowed me to find my creative side with images and adding this section to my blog boosted traffic to my site dramatically. I had received comments on my photos from a professional photographer with some constructive criticism allowing me to understand more about photography and explore more options with my camera. Having personalised a part of my WordPress motivates me to continue improving my site and to continue my passions that I lost a few years ago.

When blogging about facts, I discovered that if there are images on the blog, people are more likely to look into, explore ideas and keep reading. Over the last month or so, I have been adding in visuals to my blog posts which improved traffic to my website. I even created a GIF file of my attention span which took me a long time, but showed me the benefits when I posted my blog. It was originally going to be a video upload, but I didn’t want to pay so I spent hours cutting, cropping and turning the file into a GIF image. Personally, even if it doesn’t attract a lot of traffic, I still am proud of the improvements my blogs have seen from my first semester at uni to now.

To show that my blog has seen improvements of trafficking, view the image below to see the results of the number of views over the past few months.

screenshot-11

While numbers of views are important, I believe that it is important to reach a global market, not just the University of Wollongong community. Check out who’s been checking out my blog in different countries and how they have been able to find out about my posts (either via Facebook or Twitter or WordPress itself):

screenshot-12

I cannot be certain which of the strategies that I have specifically spoken about has allowed my views to increase but as a combination of all of these strategies my blog site has seen an increase in views. I believe that the advice from teachers and others has helped to improve my WordPress blog site and it is exciting to see my site blossom.

 

References:

Australian Federal Police (2016) Human trafficking. Viewed 3 October 2016, <https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/crime-types/human-trafficking>.

ChainsmokersVEVO (2016) The Chainsmokers – all we know (audio) ft. Phoebe Ryan, Viewed 3 October 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEi_XBg2Fpk>.

Dictionary (2016) ‘The definition of traffic’, viewed 3 October 2016, <http://www.dictionary.com/browse/traffic>.

Marketing Terms (2016) Website Traffic. Viewed 3 October 2016 <http://www.marketingterms.com/dictionary/web_site_traffic/>.

UNODC (2007) What is human trafficking? Viewed 3 October 2016, <https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html>.

All images are from my personal social media accounts:

www.twitter.com   (@SammScholte)

www.wordpress.com (https://itissamiam.wordpress.com/)

 

 

Say what?! I don’t own my photos anymore?!

When you think about media regulation, do you think about all of those T&C’s that you clicked ‘I agree’ to without even reading what you were accepting? I know I do, and I am now very aware from my previous studies at UOW that Facebook own every photo that I post and can just take it without your permission. Were you aware? Below is a snippet Facebook’s “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”:

  1. Privacy

Your privacy is very important to us. We designed our Data Policy to make important disclosures about how you can use Facebook to share with others and how we collect and can use your content and information. We encourage you to read the Data Policy, and to use it to help you make informed decisions.

  1. Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

So let’s get this straight, I own everything I post, but in ways, Facebook can take my information and use it as their own? Hmm… Seems logical right? My issue is that they can take your information without asking your permission, and what has the basis of last few weeks of this subject been about – asking permission before taking photos or information or things from an individual and using it as your own.

Meet the Smith’s, a typical American family from Missouri, 2 children with a mum and a dad. Happy and smiling for a family Christmas portrait, they never thought that they would hear from their family friend travelling in Prague where they spotted their faces on an advertisement for a grocery store in the Czech Republic. Kennedy (2009) explained that when the mother of the family posted her photo of her family on multiple social media sites (in high revolution, I must add), she never expected to have a random store owner on the other side of the world to use the photo. The family was complimented with a bottle of wine and the photo was removed from the advertising. This example is one of many were individuals have posted photos online unconsciously knowing that it could be used anywhere in the world by anyone.

 

This reveals major anxieties for anyone that hears about these stories as I can imagine, the fear of the photos they may put online or anybody being able to use these phones would incite some form of fear for some individuals. In most cases you will find that businesses protect their rights against being able to use consumer images through their terms and conditions THAT WE DONT READ! It’s a big long trap of extra reading to people don’t generally have time for, so it’s something that just gets skipped over, but then revealing that imagines may be used for marketing purposes if you click accept.

There is regulation in the media as a whole through T&C’s along with laws and codes of conducts that producing media need to follow for example; The Commercial Television Code of Conduct which is often advertised on television and the radio making consumers aware of the practices that commercials should be following when advertising. They allow you to have a say and openly contact the practice to report of any behaviours that you consider not appropriate.

Personal regulations that I had growing up was time limits on the computer, I had to make my parents (well my mum – dad doesn’t know how to use computers) aware if I was making a new e-mail account and I wasn’t allowed on the computer after dinner unless it was for homework purposes which was pretty strictly controlled. Having these restrictions allowed me to get out and about and be less focused on technology when I was growing up. Now a days, I don’t have restrictions, my phone goes to bed with me, it wakes me up in the morning, my laptop goes with me wherever I need it and I’m never told to get off the computer so mum can make phone calls, we all have a wide range of access to the internet if needed (through our phones and all) so there’s never a problem in our family – at least with technology usage. It wasn’t just phones and technology that was monitored when I was younger, television shows were restricted also. I was never allowed to watch the Simpsons, Home and Away, Neighbours and so forth. I’m not really sure why, and I constantly felt deprived as my friends would always talk about the latest episodes or quote shows, but now when I look back at it, I don’t really mind that much.

Regulations restrict you from doing certain things, and they are constantly in place to keep other users online safe from unwanted content. While we may not have time to read through the T&C’s it is important to consider where your photos might end up if you aren’t aware of what companies can do with your content such as videos and pictures you put out there for your ‘friends’ (AKA the world!) to see.

 

REFERENCE

Facebook (2015) Terms of service. Viewed 22 September 2016, <https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms>.

Kennedy, M. (2009) American family’s web photo ends up as Czech advertisement. Viewed 22 September 2016 <https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/jun/11/smith-family-photo-czech-advertisement>.

Multi-media Attention

When you go out for dinner you expect that someone’s attention is on you right, well that was a different story in my case. Any time we were together, the attention was glued to Facebook or other chats, texting, thankfully never any games – that was always when we were at home.

Meet my test subject Alex – 3rd year uni, into gaming, hanging out with friends and has a passion for skiing – even though he broke his leg, nothing holds him back from doing what he loves. We spent 8 months together, and in this time, we got to know each other pretty well. The traits, the flaws, the passions, the things that make you smile, make you go crazy and the things that just make you distracted and loose all attention to where it is needed.

Over this period of time, it was clearly evident that he loved his Facebook – the morning scroll often made him late for class or rushed to get ready. Lazed across the bed of a morning while I would jump into the shower endeavouring not to be late, he would truly push the limits of time.

Of an afternoon or night-time, Alex often loved to play the latest video game that had been released. It was like he challenged himself to finish the game as fast as he could even if I was around. The phone would go on silent and he would tune into the game he was playing. Try talking to him or even ask a question if he was ready for dinner and it was a screaming matching, getting up in his face or simply just eating without him until he realised he was hungry enough to stop and have a possible cold dinner. His attention to the games and dedication truly made me amazed as I was sure that they weren’t that cool. Mind you, when I would sit down and watch, I WAS AMAZED – I was hooked, just to sit there and watching was amusing and to be so entertained by such a game even when I wasn’t playing was fascinating. Through the course of 8 months I would say Alex at least have finished 4 or 5 games and would have replayed them on different levels and difficulties.

There’s a study that suggest that the soundtracks in video games hold the players attention for longer and that with the sound on they are more likely to score a higher score (Bernhard et.al, 2014). The study suggests that players got a higher score when playing with the sound on because it gave them cues and clues to enrich their senses of warnings, highlights and feedback. This attention can be given in the games, making you concentrate for hours on end without knowing how much time as passes by, but when it comes to attention in the classroom is it a different aspect as Swing, Gentile, Stevens and Ferlazzo found. Soundtracks alone can be good for focusing, thus when you are studying for exams and can’t seem to concentrate, pop on a video game soundtrack and you will find that you will focus for hours on your studies without even noticing time go by.

Swing, Gentile, Stevens and Ferlazzo posted an article in 2010 “ISU study finds TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids’ attention problems” stating how the attention of students from 3rd, 4th and 5th grades along with college student’s attention spans decrease in the classroom the more they play video games. They express that the students are exposed to “constant stimulation and constant flickering lights, changes in sound and camera angle, or immediate feedback” which then impacts their classroom attention because teachers are not able to provide this sort of stimulation (Gentile et al., 2010).

When I asked Alex about this statement he disagreed, and I have to agree with him. The hours spent playing video games can often stimulate your concentration when it comes to other important things in life. You’re teaching your brain to focus on things that may seem important in the long run. Although it is important to point out that it often comes down to the amount of hours that you play. Alex also stated that ‘gaming in the long-term can help improve your problem solving skills, attention to detail and strategic thinking as video games stimulate different types of thinking and different areas of the brain’.

gaming

http://techu4ria.com/scientific-studies- 1

Miguel Vidaure, 2015, wrote an article”Scientific studies show why everyone should play video games” backing up myself and Alex’s views on gaming and how they are not all bad for you. Players playing action games have ‘enhanced cognitive abilities… with noticeable differences’. Vidaure (2015), also found that the brain was able to process data faster and therefore learning more efficiently. At the end of the interesting article Vidaure says that playing video games is good for you, but should not be used as a substitute [to physical exercise]. He stated that “fresh air and sunshine are just a few benefits of outdoor physical activity that isn’t offered by video games” (Vidaure 2015). Vidaure says that is it important to still get physical activity into your daily routine, but when it’s not possible (such as bad weather), you are still able to exercise your brain with video games along with the use of motion games that allow you to burn calories while ‘climbing mountains, running through forests and enjoying virtual settings’.

I decided to personally test my own concentration and attention span by setting up a time-lapse video of me sitting at my desk trying to study. This was taken in a period of an hour and you could clearly see that my attention was consistently directed at other things such as my phone (texting, making phone calls and scrolling through Facebook and Twitter), updated my Word Press site, leaving the room to cut my father’s hair and even look at dresses I was given for a special occasion. In the space of that our, my goal was to have this blog post finished and uploaded, although I found that I had only written about 5 lines. If this is me in a semi private space with family around, imagine what I would be like in a public space! I always wondered why I loved puppies so much – maybe it’s because we have the same attention span.

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Distractions in an hour of study

 

References:

Bernhard, T., Spackman, M. and Baxa, J. (2014) Video games: Do you play better with the sound on or off? Viewed 21 September 2016 <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-shapes-film/201402/video-games-do-you-play-better-the-sound-or>.

Gentile, D., Swing, E., Stevens Martin, S. and Ferlazzo, M. (2010) ISU study finds TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids’ attention problems – news service – Iowa state university. Viewed 21 September 2016 <http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2010/jul/TVVGattention>.

Vidaure, M. (2015) Scientific studies show why everyone should play video games. Viewed 21 September 2016 <http://techu4ria.com/scientific-studies-show-why-everyone-should-play-video-games/>.

BCM240 Project Proposal

Getting ideas for a research project is not easy unless you get talking and researching and thinking about what you have previously done.

In my subject BCM210 last semester I conducted research to do with Studying Abroad and how student experiences can be both positive and negative during and also upon their return. As I have completed lots of research previously on studying abroad and student exchange, I wish to continue this study.

While learning about students in my tutorial I discovered that there was a student (Charlotte) from the USA that lives very close to where I was based over in the states working on summer camps as a soccer coach. We soon connected to build a working friendship which has allowed us to pair up for Task 3 researching studying abroad and how students can get the most out of their experiences while studying abroad. We want to look at the geographics of how students connect and engage with others while on exchange and how they connect with friends and family back home. Charlotte and I have spent lots of time brainstorming, creating and scratching many ideas to present and expand our research. Charlotte and I will collaborate together while gathering primary and secondary research and information from other exchange students at UOW as well as online.

From discussing our strengths and weaknesses, we will be presenting our information via wordpress with a category allowing you to select what type of section you would like to read into about exchange.

We hope to blog on the following topics expand our own and others knowledge of studying abroad: How we use media to deal with the geographical space between home and our host country. This proposal lead to multiple sub blog posts topics that we can research into and talk about with students. They are;

  • How you deal with time zones
  • How do you connect to home (social media, Skype, different apps and apps that do/don’t work)-link to descriptions/videos of how apps work
  • Who you contact and how relationships have changed

 

As well as these topics we will also include posts about our own experiences and find academic articles to help with expressing these views. Being able to talk to other students as well that are currently on exchange will help with the research, thus we will endeavour to get some thoughts from other students dealing with the emotions of it all.

Interviews will be conducted and recorded which would allow for Charlotte and I to reflect back on these while producing our work. It should be considered that we could do a film recording for one of our blogs as this is another platform that would be very useful in sharing the experiences of students. This still needs to be discussed.

Sharing these experiences will help students dealing with any problems they may be experiencing also which we should be conscious of although I feel that this is going to be a positive learning experience for Charlotte and myself along with the students involved.