The International Association for Research on children, youth and communication emerged as a proposal and initiative of Professor Victoria Tur, in the context of a meeting of researchers who, for years, focus their scientific and personal interest in the study of childhood and communication.
I write these lines in order to state that the Association intends to be a meeting place for all those who, from the academic, professional, social and / or personal world, have shown throughout the years in our country and beyond our borders, a significant concern about the role that traditional and digital media are playing in the lives of children.
We all have a common objective: children and communication -Kids & Com- but we are also approaching this goal from different perspectives or positions.
The Association aims to be a platform where it is noted through research, primarily the current situation of change and transformation that communication is living with the emergence and development of new technologies of information and communication.
Secondly, the broad possibilities of this field of study. Possibilities covered in many cases by Spanish research groups that are working for years in order to provide valid and reliable data about this reality.
Thirdly from research, to show society what is the real situation of children and their use of media -not forgetting, as we always say, traditional media like television or new media such as the Internet or their own mobile phone-.
Finally, to provide information to the relevant institutions in order to help them when making decisions regarding the rights of children and the media.
Regarding this last point, it should be noted how there is a deep concern from research groups about the situation of vulnerability to new screens of children living in the Information Society. Situations such as the non-compliance of the Self-Regulation Code of television content, the lack of quality media content, the «cyberbullying», a lack of awareness by parents and guardians about new technologies, and other situations which make clear that a great effort and hard work is needed by all of us in order to help children to use the media properly.
Therefore, education and Digital Literacy become essential. Thus, research not only focuses in a descriptive tour of childhood and communication reality, but also, in those projects that are implemented, it attempts to provide solutions and proposals for children to learn the best ways to use media, for parents to enable them to set the limits and rules for its proper use, and for companies responsible of the content media in order to aware them of the role they are playing in the socialization of children.
Among the last group -companies responsible of media- there are from mobile operators to television programmers, going through video game designers or web page creators. In general, they consider limited their role as media educators, and that parents are responsible for the proper use of the media. Although we may agree on this latter, reality and research demonstrates that there aren’t television programs in time spaces traditionally established for children, or that adult web pages are easily accessible to minors. So, therefore, they have something to do with it.
But don’t be catastrophic. Just critical or realistic. Anyone who switches on the television at five in the afternoon can see the scarcity or total absence of appropriate content for children. New screens have also proportionates a fertile ground for those who pretend to use them for illegal, or at least amoral purposes. So, some websites offer children the opportunity to share on the Net situations that have been recorded with their mobile phones and in which there can be seen, for example, the harassment of a fellow or teasing a teacher.
We in the Association investigate this reality, provide valid and reliable data on the current situation of children in front of screens, and try to provide solutions in this respect: content and media of quality, websites to protect children, ways for digital literacy fo children, etc.. However, there are third parties -or organizations- that have to take part, get involved and take these solutions as possible ways to raise a critical spirit in children regarding media content.
Therefore, everyone fits in this Association: researchers, teachers, other associations, companies or individuals. We have defined this Association as a meeting point, a platform, but specially, for those interested in defending the rights of children as users of the media.
Carmen García Galera
President of Kids&Com.