Category Archives: News

Help Set My Creative Imagination Freeeeee!

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Thank you! xxxIMG_1718 65110_237236146406399_13443744_n _MG_1674 IMG_5279

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Lynx Excite Angel Advert

Wow, Lynx has gone all out with this new Excite Angel Advert played out at Victoria Station, London, where people can actually interact with Lnyx Angels through a Digital Video Billboard.

Angels fall straight from heaven in the digital video board as soon as you set foot inside the ‘Look Up’ marker box on the floor. Next, they begin to virtually interact with whoever entered the box – causing some quite surprised reactions.

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Design Proposal: Smoking

Introduction

Four million people die worldwide each year from smoking and tobacco kills 60% of its customers. Why don’t these figures scare smokers? Smoking is becoming a big problem around the UK as more and more young people take to the fag. In Semester 1 I created a mind map titled ‘Suicide, Smoking and the Search for the Unsticky Cigarette’, a chapter from ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell, and discussed with others possible ways in which to resolve the issues explained. Through utilising my findings in Semester 1 and different methods from Assignment 1 to 4 in Semester 2, I will be researching the topic of smoking in depth to find out real reasons why young people begin to smoke and what influences them.

Research Method

Our first assignment in Semester 2 ‘Are You What You Wear/Buy/Sit On/Sleep In/Talk To?’ was about analysing photos of someone’s house or childhood photos to determine what kind of person they are. I believe this method would not give you genuine reasons as to why people smoke because you need to find out what kind of person they are from talking to them. Some people create false statements through their room, thus talking face to face with them will give you valid answers and real emotion straightaway. Perhaps you may find some hints like stubbed out cigarettes in an ashtray or equipment for smoking but this information cannot explain why they smoke or if they had been influenced in any way. Thus, I feel you cannot determine a person’s motives for smoking by simply snooping around their house as information gathered may not be supported enough.

Observing people smoking could be a method of noticing similarities between smokers. For instance, you may become aware that smokers generally light up in groups thus suggesting that smoking is sociable and beneficial in making new friends. A means of recording this information could be writing a survey for yourself, having a list of possible situations of how people are smoking (smoking in groups, smoking alone, girl smoking, and boy smoking). To gather more blunt results go out at night and record how many people stand outside pubs and clubs, determine how many people are smoking by themselves to people who are smoking in groups. You may notice a huge difference between the two. At the end of the experiment you could see what situation was most common in how people smoke, thus implying that perhaps this is a reason why people smoke. This message of ‘smoking is beneficial in making friends’ creates a positive image in young people’s brains. Adolescents crave the idea of fitting in, being accepted, and being part of the ‘cool’ group but why is smoking perceived as ‘cool’? I have read many articles arguing this issue and many of them utter the same reasons. One study conducted by E. J. Salber, B. Welsh, and S. V. Taylor in November, 1959 to students in the public high schools of Newton, Massachusetts demonstrated that ‘conformity to peer group’ was by far the commonest reason as to why young people smoke. Conformity meaning compliance in actions or behaviour: ‘“to follow the crowd”, “because it’s fashionable”, “to be one of the gang”’. These statements are echoed among young people today and consequently emphasising the idea of ‘sociability and cigarette’: perhaps the main attraction and cause for young people smoking. In Semester 1, we discussed how cigarettes are well designed: they have been cleverly advertised; conveyed as elegant, sociable and sophisticated; they are sticky. The tobacco industry has lied to customers by portraying positive images of smoking and not showing adverse side effects. How can adverts communicate to young people more effectively? Instead of advertising how bad smoking is for your health, perhaps we should almost embarrass young people’s actions: that they copy and are influenced by their friends smoking rather than their parents as motives are more powerful than actual behaviour.

An assignment called ‘What Images Mean’, Semester 2, involved giving a person three photographs and asking them to create a brief story using those photos. I consider this a beneficial technique because you can learn how adolescents think and perceive images. In a case for smoking, you could give an adolescent two photographs: one of someone with a cigarette, the other without. Ask them to perhaps describe the person in each photo, you may notice a difference in the attitudes. It is likely the person holding the cigarette will be portrayed by youth as sexy, cool and sociable suggesting how wrong the image for a smoking has become. Ask the adolescent to create a story using the person smoking linked with two other photographs and then another with the person not smoking. Is there a distinct dissimilarity between the two stories described? This method of asking young people to tell a story using images of smoking and non-smoking is an effective technique because it can show that tobacco use has been portrayed to young people as a positive activity, not a deathly cancerous addiction.

I believe a good method in receiving truthful views, reasons, and suggestions are from interviewing young smokers, discontinuous smokers and non-smokers. Interviews would be a good technique because you can ask questions to people who have actually experienced smoking in youth culture and get real explanations as to what influenced them to smoke. A documentary film ‘Scene Smoking: Cigarettes, Cinema, & the Myth of Cool’ by Terry Moloney talks about smoking in films and how it possibly has an effect on youth today. Films including tobacco use are portraying the complete wrong idea to young people, that smoking is a popular, sultry, socially seductive, and normal behaviour. When have you ever seen a film with someone dying of a smoking-related disease? This normalising of smoking can increase the chance of young people to light up because they will perceive the cigarette as being safe and ordinary: “The more young people are exposed to smoking images, the more it normalises the behaviour to them”, Alisa Lyons, UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. Perhaps when interviewing people you could ask questions related to film: “are you influenced to smoke by your favourite movie star or celebrity?”, “do you believe that what people see in films influence their behaviour?”, “what is your view of tobacco use in movies?” In addition, asking them what their favourite film could reveal why they smoke, for instance, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’, there are numerous scenes of Bridget smoking which conveys images into adolescent’s minds. What surprises me is this film was in fact rated for children aged 15 – could this be a reason why smoking is attracting today’s youth? After reading an article from The Sunday Times Online: ‘Smoking kills? Yaay, that’s so cool, say teens’ my thoughts turn to warning labels and anti-smoking adverts: have these messages caused young people to rebel? I am beginning to believe that young people are starting to light up because it activates a rebellious side to them. Thus, questions about anti-smoking messages could be asked: “do warning labels on cigarette packets affect your smoking habits?”, “do you think young people smoke because they want to rebel?” Another way of obtaining different suggestions is by interviewing health professionals or tobacco sellers. Asking salesmen, “how do you think young people get hold of cigarettes these days?” and “what ways are there to combat this problem?” Therefore, I think interviewing young people, health professionals and tobacco sellers is an effective method in obtaining genuine thoughts, suggestions and reasons in youth smoking.

Plan

I think this research should be carried out when the town, schools, and universities are busy, thus, during term time when all the students are back from holiday. This allows you to have more young people to interview and carry out research on. All the experiments will most likely need about six months to finalise as after every process you would need to write brief summaries of what was said by students, conclude surveys, discuss results and thoughts from other fellow research partners, and analyse results from all investigations. I believe working with others would be greatly beneficial because there would be different opinions, varied thoughts and additional results, therefore, the overall research would be more accurate.

Conclusion

I feel observing, analysing and interviewing smokers, discontinuous smokers, and non-smokers would be a beneficial way of helping to determine the reasons for young people to light up. Seeing smokers in action can help reveal the attractions of why adolescents want to smoke: because it looks sociable and helps in meeting new people; asking youth to analyse photographs of smoking and non-smoking can determine their views on tobacco use – whether it is seen as a positive activity; and the most effective method, interviewing can provide researchers with honest, varied and truthful reasons for smoking.

Bibliography

Bee, P., (May 10, 2010) ‘Smoking kills? Yaay, that’s so cool, say teens’, The Sunday Times

Gladwell, M. (2000) The Tipping Point, Great Britain: Little, Brown.

Lyons, A., (Cited by Bee, P., 2010) UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, ‘Smoking kills? Yaay, that’s so cool, say teens’, The Sunday Times

‘Scene Smoking: Cigarettes, Cinema, & the Myth of Cool: Smoking in Film and Television’ (April 2001) Moloney, T., USA [documentary]

Salber, E. J., Taylor, S. V., and Welsh, B (June 1972) ‘Reasons for Smoking Given By Secondary School Children’, Journal of Health and Human Behaviour, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 118-129

 

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Addicted to Video Games

I watched a really interesting documentary about video game addiction. Why is it so addictive? What could possibly strive someone to play for hours? How much is too much?

Video Game Addiction

Have you ever even heard of this addiction? Ever thought it was real? Recently I have seen a very interesting Panorama documentary ‘Addicted to Games?’ which investigated youngsters obsessive playing of games, described as an addiction. There was one specific story which stood out the most where 3-month-old baby starved to death whilst their parents are obsessively raising a virtual child online. Last September after a long 12-hour online period the parents returned home to find their daughter dead: http: Korean Girl Starved Online

Symptoms of game addiction are:

  • Feeling irritable, angry and restless when you are not playing video games.
  • Obsessively thinking about video/PC games and playing them whilst doing something else.
  • Spending more and more time playing video games but at the same time feeling extreme guilt.
  • You would rather play games than spend times hanging out with friends.
  • Lying about how long you play video games.

You can even experience physical symptoms like:

  • Migraines – due to the intense concentration needed to play video games one may get painful headaches.
  • Sleep Disorders – may be caused by one thinking about the game constantly thus finding it difficult to sleep, also may be because your brain is being overstimulated.
  • Sore Back – As you play video games one will tend to sit for hours on end in the same position. This is the most common symptom within game users.
  • Eating Problems – One may simply forget to eat because they are so zoned in on the game, they may not want to eat because they don’t want to waste time.
  • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome – caused when the main nerve between the forearm and hand is squeezed or pressed, thus the wrist may become swollen and sore.

We spend over 3 billion pounds on gaming, World of Warcraft has sold more than 12 million worldwide and is the most successful game ever made. Players say that they can begin to substitute the real world with the game world in which they play, thus can have a derogatory effect on your life as it can cause you to lose friends due to the isolation.

“This game is a disease”

–   Leo, 20, Panorama Documentary

Robbie Cooper is a video artist who is interested in facial expressions children make whilst playing video games and watching television. The difference between children watching television to the children playing video games is video games pull you in so much quicker. There was one child who actually did not blink at all because he was so engrossed in the game, thus, caused the loss of his blink reflexes. Personally, Cooper’s outcome is quite disturbing as it conveys how gaming has become such a powerful form of entertainment and how immersed people can get – even to the point of forgetting to blink.

Overall, I think game addiction is so addictive simply due to their design. Whilst playing computer games I feel a great sense of achievement when I gain a point or a ‘new life’, and it is these small wins that keep me hooked to the game. Makes me think ‘I can get further’. Casino gambling acquires a similar tactic, small wins of money keeps them playing. This simple idea of new lives can keep me playing video games for hours without even realising. I am grateful that my parents did not allow me to have a Playstation or else I would probably never see them, thus, believe parents should become more aware of this addiction and consider the effects when buying computer games for their child.





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Genuine Dialogue: Why It (also) Matters To Babies

On Saturday evening, I attended a very interesting lecture by Developmental Psychologist, Vasudha Reddy. Reddy is from the University of Portsmouth and, not only, studies the development of children but is particularly interested in the development of babies as well. She focusses on what babies help us to understand about the nature of human experience.

First Reddy defines the difference between dialogue and genuine dialogue. Usually when people talk about dialogue they think in terms of logos, the word, verbal conversations, but in early development most people who use this term are open to considering it in non-verbal communication also. What Reddy means by dialogue is the process in which two persons, a person and a thing even, can genuinely connect. She then explained her influence from Martin Buber: Buber believed that a ‘lack of a script’ was necessary for genuine conversation. If two people were to have a conversation with a script it would be dead and fake, thus, will be expressionless as they will both know what lines follow next – so no surprise there.

It’s Absence Matters To Us

Categorisation/Objectification – we all do it, for instance, you go to a party and someone asks you “what are you studying?”, and they have switched off as soon as you have said “art & design”. They are not interested because you do not study a similar discipline to them. Another example is you see someone in a suit and you instantly label them as being spoilt and snobby: you categorise them even before you have spoken to them.

InvisibilityWhen people do not notice you, in an office, for example, or going to a conference and the speaker does not look at you once or select you to ask a question.

Exclusion – Reddy explained that even when you know that you are being excluded it can really hurt. For example, there was an experiment carried out where she asked three children to play a simple ball passing game, then asked two of them to pass only to each other leaving the third out. It did not take a minute for the third to feel excluded, even when she knew it was not intentional, there was something so powerfully hurtful.

Why Infants Bother To Talk To Us

Manos Hadjidakis

Something hair-raising about his voice – the deep comforting voice – and there is also something in this foreigners speech which is calling out for us to join him. Even when we do not understand what Hadjidakis is saying, we are interested in his voice and this is what babies are faced with: this powerful invitation to join in a world they do not know yet.

So let us look at examples of very early invitations from others to come and join in the world and look at their responses.

You can even see babies invited to join the world by animals.

However, there is a lot of debate whether this is imitation or intentional.

Babies Prefer Being Looked At

Reddy displayed two faces which were shown to new-born infants within 2 to 5 days of birth. In one of them the eyes are looking away and the other the eyes are directly looking forward. New born infants looked longer and more frequently at the eyes looking forward than the eyes looking to the side. This could be down to preference.

Infants Creating New Dialogue

Infants show sufficient interest in getting emotional reactions from others. Why do they like getting reactions? Is it because they like the attention? Satisfaction? Perhaps it builds their self-esteem? Examples of actions which create responses are:

Showing off – for instance if I finish a drawing and you like it, so I do some more to get more praise from you.

Clowning – where babies imitate a facial expression and cause someone to laugh, for example.

Teasing – something a baby does deliberately to get a reaction from the parent, for instance, baby dropping something on the floor, parent consistently picks it up. Baby finds this amusing.

Example of teasing:

Conclusion

Outcomes may vary depending on the mood you convey whilst looking after your baby. For instance, if a mother is depressed whilst looking after her baby, the baby may express things unlike others: either suppressing attention and emotions or over-expressing. But what is the motivation for their dialogue? Is it because they want to join in? Want to belong? Is it for socialisation or survival is well? Surely it would be all, if someone offered them food when hungry they would take it to survive. If they did not talk they would feel like nothing and depressed. Overall, I feel that it is particularly important to engage with babies as well as observing them because everyone, even babies, like to feel useful and create reactions from others. Also, responding to a baby’s action is valuable as it may cause distress. I believe engagement and interacting with your baby will strengthen your bond, thus, lead to a happier baby in future .

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Abused to Beg

Just after watching a small documentary about beggar children in the African State of Senegal, I feel I need to show my opinions.

‘God’s Beggar Children’ was the name of the documentary showing how the poor children of Senegal live day to day life. They attend Qur’anic schools , which are free but very basic, and are forced to beg on the street by their own teachers everyday. It can be up to six hours a day they would be spending walking the streets for money, rice and sugar, and if the children did not bring back the amount of food the Maribu (teacher) wanted they would be severely beaten. Some children run away from their Islamic school, few run to friends or relatives but the majority end up on the streets.

In the documentary, there was one part where a young boy cried when showing his scars where he had been beaten, as it was too much for him. Very moving.

Authorities should stand up and take action, saying it is enough. Why don’t they?

I was shocked to hear that a teacher, who beat the children, said he ‘condemned the government for not funding schools like his’. Why should you beat children to learn? What is the money collected used for?

However, I was pleased to hear that the Government have started to look at regulations of Qur’anic schools but they need to make sure that not only does regulation include curriculum and the types of studies going on but that they have norms and standards that guarantee the protection of the children.

Yet, at the present, 50,000 children still beg on the streets just to avoid being beaten by their own teachers.

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