An investigation into the selection and access of media texts by secondary school children in Durban area.
Yusuf, Oluwatoyin Oluremi.
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School children have often been regarded as lacking competence when it comes to using media texts. Some researchers refer to them as less active audience or uncritical media users because of their short attention span and because they often perform other activities while using the media. They are not considered as the critical media users a democratic society requires. Children's access to the media has also raised a lot of questions like what and which media they have access to and who selects for them. Their selection and access to the media will relate to their social, economic and cultural background and their race and gender. This research explores the type of media school children have access to and what media texts they select from the range they have access to. This research is premised on a belief that a knowledge of the selection and access of media texts is immediately relevant to education and critical literacy. This will help media educators to assess what learners already know. This research is not intended to judge any learner in relation to their access and use, it aims to get better insight into the types and genres of media learners engage with depending on the race, social class and gender of the learner. I examine the topic against the theoretical understandings of audience reception theory. This discusses how theorists have considered whether the audience are passive or active or critical. The research process involves participation by learners between the ages of 15 and 18 from three different schools of Crawford College in La Lucia, Rossburgh High School in Rossburgh, and Clairwood Secondary School in Clairwood and investigates the nature of media engaged with over a short period of time. Research findings reveal that the type of media accessed by various learners varies in relation to background factors of the learner such as economic background, race and gender.