About The kidsmediacentre

The kidsmediacentre is a research centre and think tank in Toronto, Canada. We are part of the School of Communications, Media and Design at Centennial College. Our goal is to explore children’s media futures and help the children’s industry in Canada produce content that makes a difference in kids’ lives.

As researchers, we get paid the big bucks (jk jk) to explore, analyze and unpack children’s relationships with this enormous, amorphous, life altering and life-influencing monolith we call media. Kids are often called first adopters for good reason. Parents don’t have the time to live their own lives and supervise all their children’s swipes, taps and texts, so kids spend a lot of time doing it on their own.

Part and parcel of exploring this new ground is the need to push boundaries and many kids do this from the comfort of their home. The digital space is a mostly boundary-less universe with few rules and little oversight. Once a year youth get that digital literacy workshop or a visit from the police and then the adults in their lives hold their breath and hope their kids, henceforth, will make digitally literate, savvy choices. Some do. In fact, many do and we’d like to profile some of them in this space. Others don’t, and their digital exploits often create significant privacy risks or lead to cyber bullying.

No question, much of kids’ digital behaviour is subterranean and kids like it that way. Indeed since the advent of MSN, parents have been handwringing over their kids social behaviour hoping and praying that when they Google their child’s name, they won’t see thousands of pages of online public images.  

Visit kidsmediacentre to learn more!

Why All The Blurred Pictures?

Short Answer: Canadian Ethics guidelines preclude us from sharing images of youth using social media to build fame.

Long Answer: Despite the heavy digital footprints, very public personas and sharing practices of many young people, as a Canadian college we are limited in the kinds of photos we share of youth in our research. We are governed by Tri-Council ethics principles, which ensure academic integrity and high standards of research ethics. As children’s researchers we need to ensure children’s privacy is not at risk.

What this means is – without parental consent – we can’t share pictures of the very public “instafamous” youth we’ve discovered in our research. Even if kids are broadcasting their videos and photos on social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Vine – attracting hundreds of thousands of followers -  we can’t publish these images without parental consent. And since access to the parents of the kids with hundreds of thousands of followers wasn’t forthcoming….i.e kids weren’t passing along our request to their parents -  we are not at liberty to post their full image.

Instead, we’ll be using blurred images and written descriptors to describe how kids are presenting themselves online.  We think you’ll get the picture.