The creation of digital media for adolescent children should take into consideration the importance of “the three C’s”: the child, the context of use, and the content. According to Lisa Guernsey, director of the New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative, all three of these terms must be reflected in the purposeful choice, application, and development of digital media for children. One could consider that the foundation of children’s digital media content must account for the four stages of child development as stated by, social constructivist, Jean Piaget.
By employing active mediation and co-viewing a child’s parents and peers can participate in a child’s experiences; using digital media in the context of learning can facilitate the understanding and processing of content in programming and advertisements.
When establishing the formation of digital media content for a child, one must account for the cognitive abilities, intelligence, and social-emotional needs that progress at different developmental stages. Jean Piaget theorized that children move through four specific stages of learning: sensori-motor (birth to two years), pre-operational (two to seven years), concrete operational (seven to twelve years), and formal operational (twelve years and up) (Marzzarella 65). The application of the Piagetian theory, in regards to the creation of children’s digital media, primarily focuses on the cognitive limitations of preoperational thinking in children under the age of five. Children in the preoperational stage have difficulty understanding the content of television (Marzzarella 66). When media producers develop a show for an audience of toddlers and preschoolers, they must take into account the child’s inability to comprehend complex story lines, differentiate fiction from reality, and understand violence. Research shows that young children are more frightened by characters that appear scary, such as monsters and zombies, opposed to realistic violence (Mazzarella 66).
One can presume that through co-viewing or active mediation, if a children’s television show depicts ideas in which the child may not comprehend, an adult or peer can aid in their understanding of the media content. Co-viewing can aid a parent or...