Wednesday 16 June 2021 |  View in your browser

ACCM launches new service: app tracking checks for popular children’s apps

ACCM's new website for parents lets them check out apps their children want to play, and see what personal data is being gathered and who's getting it.  This will help parents decide if they are happy for their child to use a particular app.
The resources available include a regularly updated list of top 50 Android apps played by children in Australia that have had AppCensus privacy checks which identifies the app's data collection activity.  
There are also links to videos to support parents with a range of privacy issues including ways to discuss the importance of personal privacy with children at different ages.  These resources incorporate research from Macquarie University.

ACCM acknowledges the support of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) which funded the research for this project

Media Reform Green paper - modernising television regulation in Australia

Submissions to the Green paper are now public and can be found here

ACCM's submission highlighted that the major fault in the Green Paper is that it does not ever specifically address the diverse needs of the child audience. The emphasis is on the changing media landscape; on the government’s desire to move current free-to-air networks from their present spectrum allocations; and on serving the financial interests of the industry. The public interest as a whole takes fourth place, and children are out of the picture entirely. 

FreeTV and Netflix oppose the Green paper proposals

Increasing physical activity and cutting screen time in Outside School Hours Care services

Funding has been granted to support researchers to work with 162 Australian OSHC centres to implement and evaluate newly established best practice guidelines for children’s physical activity and use of screens. 
Read about this initiative here.

Porn protections for kids

The Federal Government has announced its support for the development of the roll out of an age verification system to help protect children from exposure to online pornography.  Collective Shout welcomes this support, acknowledging that while not a ‘fix all’, proof of age requirements would provide a much needed layer of protection for children vulnerable to the predatory porn industry.

NZ research on impact of Instagram

Research that investigated the impact Instagram has on adolescent mental health found that vulnerable females are most likely to compare themselves negatively to photos on the social media platform and that the amount of likes someone gained on their photos posted or the type of content posted can result in depression and worry.

NITV commissions new children's series

The Northern Territory is set to welcome Barrumbi Kids. a new children’s television series which will premiere on NITV in 2022. Based on books from Territory author Leonie Norrington, the 10 x 30 minute series follows the adventures of Tomias and Dahlia, two best friends who are growing up in a remote Northern Territory community.

Concerns about sports betting ads

Tim Costello has relaunched a campaign to end sports betting advertising, claiming the recent federal government reforms have not helped protect Australians. He says that constant gambling advertising promoting all sorts of ‘bonus bets’ undoubtedly triggered some people to gamble again, or gamble more, some with savings made during lockdowns, or even worse - with superannuation withdrawals.  Sports wagering was the fastest growing form of gambling in Australia, doubling in the five years to 2017-2018, with losses now exceeding more than $1 billion annually.

E-books for young children raise questions about consequences

Proponents of digital storybooks say that the interactive features increase child and parent engagement, accelerating children’s grasp on reading and language. Critics say the format is distracting and impedes focus and comprehension of the content. This article looking at the evolution of children’s literature into high-tech form suggest that while there may be benefits, there are also some detriments.

Industry watchdog Ad Standards upholds complaints

A paid Instagram post by model and influencer Nikki Phillips for Magnum ice cream failed to disclose her relationship with maker Unilever.

And a Sportsbet ad racial vilification complaint upheld.

Facebook to help fund advertising self regulation

Facebook has agreed to help fund advertising self regulation in Australia, joining The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) self regulatory system, which includes the operations of Ad Standards.

Your kids on dopamine (via Facebook)

Serious concerns are raised about Facebook's proposed Instagram app for children younger than 13 and it is suggested that it is a vast experiment on the developing brains of young children, and that we may not know the full effects until it is too late to reverse them.

Smart phone use and academic performance

All students attending classes in 11 different study programs at two Belgian universities were surveyed on general smartphone use and other drivers of academic achievement; and the survey data were merged with the exam scores of these students. It showed that an increase in overall smartphone use resulted in a decrease in the exams passed.

Reading and screens

The research indicated that screen use was associated with lower reading activities, resulting in greater screen use at later ages. Findings emphasize the need for practitioners and educators to discuss screen use guidelines and encourage families to engage in device-free activities to foster early literacy exposure.

Soft drink ads on TV and consumption

This study investigated the effect of television advertising, on soft drink choice and intake. Participants viewed TV advertisements for either soft drinks or control (non-sweetened) beverages. Participants who had viewed the soft drink advertisements were more likely to choose a soft drink as their first drink than those who had viewed the control advertisements. In addition, participants with poorer inhibitory control chose more soft drinks overall following the soft drink advertisements.

Jenny Radesky on digital world ads

A guide to the marketing children encounter in their digital experiences - and how to talk to them about it.
National Films and Sound Archive making older Australian films available

The latest of the NFSA films available can be found here
Rolf de Heer’s Twelve canoes is among them. The storyline was devised in collaboration with the Indigenous Yolngu people of Ramingining, and in the process, the companion Twelve canoes website was developed.

New books

Digital media and child and adolescent mental health. A practical guide to understanding the evidence
by Michelle O'Reilly, Nisha Dogra, Diane Levine and Veronica Donoso
Using reflective activities, practical tips and evidence-based research, this text suggests informed ways social and digital media can be used beneficially, providing vital understanding to anyone studying child and adolescent mental health. 

The marketing of children’s toys: critical perspectives on children’s consumer culture edited by Rebecca Hains and Nancy Jennings
This book offers critical perspectives on the marketing of a variety of toys, brands, and product categories. Topics include marketing undertaken by specific children’s toy brands such as American Girl, Barbie, Disney, GoldieBlox, Fisher-Price, and Lego.

Spirit Untamed (in cinemas) is an animated adventure from Dreamworks. A prequel of sorts that tells the tale of how Lucky came to the frontier town of Miradero and how she and Spirit became friends. While it may lack interest for older audiences it is suitable for all children except those under 5 and parental guidance is recommended to 7.  The main messages from this movie are to be brave; to stand tall; to believe in yourself; to know who you are; and to never give up.

Cruella (in cinemas) is a dark drama that takes you back in time to show you how one of Disney’s most notorious villains came to be. Where once there was only fear and disgust, audiences will begin to have empathy and understanding for a character that was largely shaped by the actions of others. Due to its dark nature and focus on revenge. it is not suitable for children under 11, and will be best enjoyed by adults and older children. The main messages from this movie are that if you put others before yourself you won’t achieve anything; and that sometimes family is all that you have.

Antistress is a collection of mini-games designed for relaxation. The free pack contains approximately 80 games which include playing stacking blocks; floating lily pads; marble balls; colouring in; puzzle cubes; sorting shapes and colours; and writing letters. The games are all simple to use with a tap or a swipe of the finger and can therefore be played by most ages, with the necessary fine motor skills. Within the home screen several more games are advertised which can be purchased as the Quiet Pack. This can easily be purchased by clicking on the ‘Buy’ button and caution is therefore advised for under 5s.

Kahoot! Play and Create Quizzes is an educational app designed to make learning fun. It has a broad scope of topics covering many fields of knowledge. Requires good reading skills.The online connectivity is a concern for children under 16, particularly as other players can join in a challenge. Parental guidance is therefore strongly recommended for children under 12 and it is recommended that parents learn about and engage at some level, with the app for children aged 12-15.

ACCM has provided Know Before You Go movie reviews and
Know Before You Load app reviews free for many years.

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