How caregivers perceive and mediate children’s books featuring media characters in the United States

Regina Jihea Ahn, Michelle R. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Caregivers manage pre-school children’s media choices; however, most research has examined electronic and digital media, while books remain the predominant medium for this age group. We explore how caregivers perceive and mediate children’s books, with an emphasis on those portraying popular media characters, through two qualitative studies. Through non-participant observation at the public library, we capture how caregivers and children negotiate and choose books. While a few caregivers employed restrictive mediation, most valued children’s book choices, irrespective of content. Our interview study of parents largely supports the findings of our observation study. Some parents revealed their concerns about age-inappropriate or problematic characters and passively avoided the books with those characters. However, parents primarily respected their children’s book preferences. The ways in which caregivers shape their children’s media and book reading are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-218
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Children and Media
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019

Keywords

  • Children’s books
  • interviews
  • media characters
  • non-participant observation
  • parental mediation
  • reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication

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