TV Remains the Only Media Platform for Shared Family Experiences
Unlike newspapers, technology has not affected television as it remains the only screen in the house through which family members can gather together and watch their favorite shows.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Andre H. Caron, professor of communications at Universite de Montreal and Director of the Centre for Youth and Media Studies (CYMS) and looked at the television viewing habits of families with at least one child aged between 9 and 12 years.
The study was conducted over three years in two phases. In the first phase, more than 500 Canadian children's television programs were analyzed. The results, published in 2010, showed the decisive quality of Canadian productions. On the other hand, it also revealed significant gaps in the availability and diversity of programs geared specifically to children aged between 9 and 12 years.
The second phase of the study consisted of a thorough examination of the appropriation of media by families and children: in addition to the role, perception, and influence of TV, the study examined how children make use of new screen-based media such as computers, video game consoles, and smartphones.
Based on this approach, the researchers interviewed Canadian families in their everyday environment (their homes) in five Canadian cities: St. John's, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. The researchers also used the method of focus groups, composed respectively of children, fathers, mothers, and young adolescents in each city.
The results of the study show that, as in the past, television remains the media platform best suited to shared family experiences in the five regions visited. Families continue to attribute value and importance to TV.
The results also suggest that second screens (tablets, smartphones, etc.) are still not widely used by this group and are not a threat to television: when present, they complement it.
Because of its dimensions, children and parents interviewed across the country consider television, as far from being endangered.