Asia Pacific Media Educator


Since the introduction of the mass media, their content has been a rich vein from which children mine ideas for play. Television/video transformation play, the most common form of media-related play facilitates the child's development of creativity, intellectual growth, acquisition of social skills, reduction of egocentricity and building of peer cultures. Through ethnography, this study examines the role of American television and video in Chinese American children's culture of play and peer interaction. For comparison purpose, White children were also included in the study. Both White and Chinese children had access to similar media, yet they used media information very differently in their play. One possible explanation could be the quantitative and qualitative under-representation of Chinese characters in American media. This type of media representation provides no role models for Chinese children in their play and offers no inspirations for White children to include Chinese characters when creating media-related play. This article calls for the media industry to re-examine their role in children's socialization process, i.e. learning through play.