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Children, Media and Technology

Sub session 1: Media Technology; Design and Use

Coordinator: Tone Bratteteig , Associate Professor, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo .

In 2005 childhoods include a large variety of technologies. Some technologies are designed for children to be used in schools and homes, but children are also exposed to technical systems designed for adults and teenagers. Many children are experienced users of technical artefacts, and the technology has become an imnportant part of their life influencing the daily practices, the communication, the learning, the entertainment, and the ways they see themselves.

The technology and media sessions deal with some aspects of technology design and use for and with children:
• interaction design for children: how do children interact with technology? Which genres and languages, narratives and symbols are understood? How do children of different ages interpret the interface? How can we design for the various age groups?
• participatory design with children: how can children be involved in design? How do we engage children in creatively shaping their technological surroundings? How do we enable their voices as legitimate in design?
• a particularly interesting area of technology use is in health care, where information about the body and communication about health for children can be interesting both for children of all ages and for their parents. Can technology be designed to enhance the exchange of information about health between children and health care providers? What about teenagers in need of information about reproductive health and to shy to ask? Could technology help? A specific case would be children with severe chronic and acute illnesses like cancer, hearth diseases, asthma/allergies etc. who may have interests in varying the information and communication channels at various points of their illness. How do small children communicate specific pains? Can technology help children in finding ways to handle the emotional sides of serious illnesses?

It is also interesting to see how children are affected by the technologies surrounding them. Genres of cartoons and games can be found in movies — and vice versa. Mobile telephones and their SMS-abbreviations are included in everyday language, both written and spoken. The mobile telephone is seen as a necessity as a communication device—and as an expression of identity. How does the genres of various technologies influence each other? How does technical artefacts get their meanings — and which meanings are ascribed to them? How do the technologies in children’s lives influence the way they think about themselves; their identity, their sense of abilities and mastery?
A special case here can be games: the game as identity, as mastery, as education, as a social activity. How can we understand the ways in which children use and domesticate games as part of their lives? Is it possible to design games that use the narrative structure and genres of action games in a different professional sphere (e.g. a good scientist fighting for knowledge rather than a soldier in a war)?

Key presentations will be solicited and ongoing research will be presented. The session is also open for papers and posters form individual participants.

Sub session 2: Media in Children's Daily Lives

Coordinator : Trond Waage, former Ombudsman for Children, Norway

Moving beyond technology, media influence children's every day lives in many ways. Children  develop special competances to use and interpret media messages in their contemporary lives. Young people also invent ways of using the media, in unecpected ways, just as media research can surprise us with many different and interdiciplinary focuses. 

The media session has received a diversity of abstracts for consideration, and will in cooperation with other groups create sessions to acknowledge this diversity of interesting approaches.

Sub session 3: Children (Adolescence) and Media

Coordinator: Ferran Casas , Director , Institut de Recerca sobre Qualitat de Vida (Research Institute on Quality of Life) , Universitat de Girona , Spain

Five research teams from Universities in 4 different continents (Spain, India, South Africa, Brazil, Norway) has worked together for 3 years on the Childwatch International initiated project ` Children (Adolescence) and Media. The group will present results from this international comparative research on perceptions and attitudes towards audio-visual media and young people's aspirations in the five participating countries. The research activity has included data collecting from adolescents 12 to 16, and also from their parents, so that inter-generational comparisons of different perceptions have been analyzed.