Children’s Advertising

Question; Restrictions on advertising to children are specified in Children’s Television Standards 2005 (established by ACMA). Briefly summarize any five restrictions on television advertisements aimed at children.

  • Presentation of an objects size, price and functionality must be made clear and not be made ambiguous
  • The contents of an advert are not to be displayed in a misleading fashion
  • If an advert is being shown during the time of a children’s program, a character from the program may not be used to represent/endorse an object in an advert
  • Any disclaimers must be conspicuous so as the child understands it
  • Adverts are not to make an object seem as though it will make an individual better than their peers, or create undue pressure on a child to attain an object so as they will become more popular in a social setting.

Social Comparison Theory

Question; According to Gilbert, Keery and Thompson, one mechanism by which the media may contribute to body image disorders is the social comparison. Explain the basic idea of social comparison theory.

Social comparison is the common practice whereby an individual compares themselves to others so as to self-evaluate.  The media contributes to negative self evaluations by providing the comparison (for both genders, though mainly women) as a Photo-shopped version  of the ‘ideal’, with the product the advert is selling being shown as the only way for an individual to attain a body such as the ‘ideal’ presented to them in the ad.


Violence and Language in Films/Games

Question; Five of the film classification categories are: G/PG/M/MA15+/R18+

Two of the six classifiable elements are violence and language. Summarize how acceptable violence and language are defined for each of the above five classification categories, in Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games. (only explain the rules regarding violence and language-ignore the other four themes).

  • G – violence: low sense threat/menace in justified context;  language: mild and infrequent coarse language in context
  • PG -violence: mild and infrequent must be within justified context;  language: mild and infrequent coarse language in context
  • M -violence: moderate violence permitted in justified context; language: coarse language may be used
  • MA15+ -violence: violence should be justified by context; language: strong coarse language may be used, with aggressive or strong coarse language being infrequent
  • R18+ -violence: violence is permitted; language: no restrictions on language

Classification elements

Question; What are the six classification elements that are considered by the Office of Film and Literature Classification when determining the classification rating for films and video games in Australia, Classification decisions also consider the ‘impact’ of scenes. How is impact evaluated?

  • Violence
  • Language
  • Themes (i.e. supernatural)
  • Sex
  • Drug Use
  • Nudity

The impact for the above elements is evaluated mostly based on context of the scene, however this alone is not enough to evaluate the impact. The accumulated effect (which is changed based on the purpose and tone within the sequence) of these elements heavily influences the classification a movie/game will receive. In the case of referencing a movie/game, it may not receive an element of classification if the element in question (example: sex) is verbally referred to (in comparison to it being shown visually.) The way in which the game/film treats the element also effects how the impact is evaluated.


Question; How is defamation defined in common law?

When describing the definition of defamation one can only think of Solove and his argument concerning the importance of reputation. In terms of the common law definition of defamation, defamation is the unjustified destruction of reputation. In detail this definition must follow that:

  • An individual is being (or has been) exposed to hatred, contempt and/or ridicule (in regards to ridicule it must be non trivial in order for defamation to be present)
  • People/society are being encouraged to shun an individual
  • The reputation of the individual is lowered in the eyes of the public

It should be noted that where I have referred to ‘individual’, defamation is not exclusive to the one but applies to the many, as in, a corporation or group (cultural) can have defamation applied to them and may go to court on the grounds of defamation.

Trial by Media

Question; Does the media’s approach to crime reporting undermine the defendant’s rights to a fair trial in high profile cases? Discuss in relation to a specific example of ‘trial by media.’

In relation to the case of Governor General Dr Peter Hollingworth (hereafter GG), though there were never charges made, the case of ‘trial by media’ is evident (or rather he was ‘tried’ by the media instead.) In this case the GG never had the chance to defend himself, the media blanketed the community with tabloid headlines which sold due to the involvement of a high ranking official and a sex scandal (especially with pedophilia and the church involved.)

The media succeeded in creating bias and creating prejudice based on a stereotype, (in the case of the GG involving a church with pedophilia) which often leads to the media becoming the judge, jury and executioner.

The bias began in 2001 with reports that child sex offences in the church had not gotten attention from the GG, this small amount of bias was then flared with tabloid headlines along the lines of ‘I did not rape her’ which was taken from a denial videotape presented on the ABC. This program did not involve any accusations against the GG in relation to pedophilia, however the media took a quote out of context so as to both stereotype a previous leader of a religious sect and to strongly influence bias.

With no actual charges being held against the GG, the media was (instead of trying to sway public opinion on a court case) persuading the population to force the GG to resign from his position. Which he did in 2003, two years into a five year position as GG.

In this example of ‘trial by media’ the undermining of the defendant’s right to a fair trial in the eyes of the public was stripped away before the GG settled into his office. Whatever attempts he made to defend previous inactions merely led to another story slandering the GG, in the eyes of the media previous inactions were enough to take away, not only the right to defend one’s own reputation (Solove) but also the right to defend oneself against accusations within the public sphere. As a result of this trial by media, the GG’s reputation was destroyed, he was stripped from office and scorned by the public who had once heralded his actions for children in poverty with love and affection.

Sin in Cyber Eden

Question; In ‘Sin in cyber-eden’, Craft discusses a case of theft in an online virtual reality game called EVE. He argues that: “virtual theft harms its victims in just the same way as actual theft”. Is he right or is it an exaggeration to claim that crimes in a virtual world may be morally equivalent to crimes in the actual world?

In regards to Craft’s argument that virtual crimes are harmful to victims in the same way as real life events, two sides must be considered, that is to say Craft is not wrong, but he is not right either, I believe the term is fence-sitting and this short essay will be doing just that, pointing out both sides to a valid argument.

In the case of EVE online and the actions of the guiding hand, one may ignore that a crime took place, however if the exact same scenario occurred in real life the members of the guiding hand would be behind bars. In this case I believe that a crime has been committed, an individual spent time and real money (for their subscription) in order to amass virtual currency and virtual items, which is hard work in terms of the amount of time it takes to acquire these virtual possessions. This individual then formed social bonds with some friends over the course of a year. The avatar became a portal to a escapist way of life where they could be themselves and socialize with people they would otherwise not meet. So in effect, the avatar became the player themselves. After a year they were then deceived by their year old friends and robbed by them, to make matters more strenuous for the player their avatar was then killed by these online friends. The individual was left with nothing, years of playing time were lost with their virtual goods, similar to the victim of a real life robbery coming home to find their best friends had robbed them, (left them a note and set the house to explode within sixty seconds.)

To close on the short argument for Craft’s argument though it can be argued that as virtual crimes do not occur in the real world they do not effect the player, however they can emotionally cripple an individual and deprive them of an entire virtual world experience.

As for the argument against Craft’s argument, Craft explains only deceit and theft which can be argued as minor crimes comparing to others (such as the rape, homicide and violence encouraged in other virtual worlds (Age of Conan.)) Though there are cyber equivalents of each, all cases are more traumatic for the victim in real life then they would be in a virtual world due to the physical harm involved. From this point of view I disagree with Craft, however due to the inability for virtual worlds to directly effect an individual physically the only damage they can do is psychological/emotional, which are easily attained. The real life would no doubt invoke strong emotional reactions, but based on factors such as time played and dependence on an avatar for social interactions, the emotional impact within a virtual case of theft and deceit could prove just as harmful as a real world event.