Children, Adolescents and the Media


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In the past decades, children and adolescents have become the defining users of many entertainment media and media technologies. Despite a booming media industry specifically aimed at children and young people, relatively little is known about the contents, uses, and implications of these media productions. The rapidly developing changes in young people's media environment provide an important raison d'etre for a this division within ICA that specifically focuses on the role of different media in children's and adolescents' lives.

The Children, Adolescents, and the Media (CAM) division strives to be a fruitful intellectual forum for academics from all over the world who study the role of media in the lives of children and young people. It aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas among scholars of different backgrounds and disciplinary orientations, informed by a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches.

CAM aims to cover all media and technologies aimed at and/or used by children and young people: It focuses on the production, content, uses, and reception of both print and electronic media. CAM's orientation is interdisciplinary: It attempts to draw on and contribute to communication theory, but also to psychological, sociological, cultural and critical theories. CAM's approach is multi-methodological: It welcomes all theoretical and empirical studies based on quantitative and qualitative research methods.




Children and Nontheatrical Media: From Film to Video (Conference)
Keynote speaker: Rick Prelinger
U of Glasgow, Scotland
12-13 April 2014

An open call to archivists, academics and film-makers. We are seeking papers and presentations exploring the relationship between nontheatrical media (meaning amateur, orphan, sponsored, municipal, educational films and/or audiovisual material) and children.

Suggested topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Children as performers
  • Children as subjects
  • Children as audiences (e.g. in schools)
  • Children as makers

Please send title; 300 word abstract; name and affiliation to Professor Karen Lury, School of Culture and Creative Arts, U of Glasgow.

Deadline for proposals is: 15 November 2013

The conference is supported by the AHRC and related to the project Children and Amateur Media in Scotland


Journal of Children and Media
Special Issue, Volume 9 Issue 1, February 2015:
Media and the Family
Guest Editor: Kristen Harrison, Department of Communication Studies and Institute for Social Research, U of Michigan;

The child-media relationship is challenging to study comprehensively in part because much of it takes place within the context of the family home, intertwined with the daily rituals and interactions of family life. Research exploring children and media vis-à-vis the family context deepens our understanding of the significance of media in the daily lives of children, from birth until they leave the family home. In 1980 James Lull published a typology of the social uses of television in the home, from structural (organization and regulation of family space and time) to relational (communication facilitation and avoidance, establishment of leisure norms, role enactment). A third of a century and the addition of several varieties of new in-home media later, there is a need to revisit what we know about the role of mass media in the family context. This special issue of the Journal of Children and Media is designed to give readers a heightened appreciation for the reciprocal relationships between the family context, media, and child/family interactions, habits, and rituals.

We seek empirical studies and theoretical essays that might include, for example, research on:

  • Characteristics and influences of the constant TV household and/or TV in children’s rooms
  • Background and foreground media influences on daily habits like sleeping, mealtimes, the completion of homework, and conversation
  • Parental mediation of child media use/exposure as it plays out in the home context
  • Parents, siblings, and other family members as co-audience members
  • The role of media in structuring family space and time; family rituals around media
  • Media as tools in the negotiation of family hierarchy (e.g., selection, punishment)
  • The role of media use in displacing/stimulating activities that ordinarily take place in or around the home (e.g., face-to-face conversation, outdoor play)
  • Differences in media characteristics and uses in the homes of diverse families of different socioeconomic means, cultural-religious-ethnic backgrounds, immigration status, or generational composition

Contributions to this special issue are welcomed from a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches.  The guest editor is particularly interested in research that addresses contextual factors specific to the family home and the media-related activities that occur as part of everyday life. Both qualitative and quantitative data analytic approaches are invited.

Expressions of interest should be submitted to the guest editor as an e-mail attachment by no later than 30 March 2013. Please include a 500-word abstract, full contact information, and a biographical note (up to 75 words) on each of the authors.  Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by April 30, 2013 and will then be invited to submit a full paper to the guest editor.  Manuscripts should be no more than 8,000 words, including notes and references, conform to APA style, and be submitted by September 30, 2013.  All papers will be subject to anonymous peer review following submission.


Nordicom Book Media, Empowerment and Civic Engagement

Speaking Up and Talking Back?
Media, Empowerment and Civic Engagement Among East and Sothern African Youth

Eds.: Thomas Tufte, Norbert Wildermuth, Anne Sofie Hansen-Skovmoes & Winnie Mitullah

Yearbook 2012/2013 from the International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media

Nordicom, U of Gothenburg, 2013, 302 p. ISBN 978-91-86523-55-0. 
Price: €23, $31

The book questions whether and how young citizens in Africa engage with media and communications technologies and platforms in a desire to be included in the change processes of their societies. The theme echoes some of the claims made by disenchanted and frustrated youth and other citizens in the streets of North Africa’s cities in 2011 and 2012. They were severely critical of the governance structures in their countries, mass social mobilizations took place, governments fell and, in the aftermath, the slow process of transition continued, now with one tyrant less but still with uncertain outcomes and huge challenges for the social and economic development of these countries.

Youth in particular engaged massively, visibly, loudly and dramatically around demands to be involved and included in their countries’ 
development processes. This yearbook taps into the less visible and dramatic, but nevertheless highly dynamic and influential, process of media development and the enlargement of youth-driven, deliberative spaces which sub-Saharan Africa is currently experiencing.

For more information:


Children Cultures and Media Cultures

Special issue of Communication Management Quarterly, CM – C(asopis za UpravljanjeKomuniciranjem)

Guest editors: Piermarco Aroldi and Cristina Ponte

COST Action IS0906, “Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies”

Working Group 4 - Audience Transformation and Social Integration

1.      Main topic
In the changing landscape of (old and new) media and their audiences, convergence between children's and media cultures is an increasing field of study. Among other topics, children and young people are facing the expansion of digital TV channels addressed to kids and teens; a growing marketing investments associated to new forms of publicity in new platforms, such as the SNS sites or the mobile communication; new social practices because of changing family structure and everyday rhythms, making their lives much more institutionalised, more individualized and lived in a culture dominated by individualized and mobile media than past generations, to name but a few challenges. This special issue aims to deepen our knowledge about the relation between children cultures and media cultures as a privileged area of innovation, where a plurality of actors and stakeholders (children, parents, educators, producers, marketers, regulators, policy makers and, last but not least, scholars) constantly negotiate about the meaning of childhood itself in our globalizing societies.

This main topic can be addressed by different points of view, such as:

2.      Sub topics

  • Children as cross-media users: diffusion of digital devices in the everyday life, and convergence of media brands and characters addressed to kids and teens in a cross-platform perspective, made the children a very peculiar audience, accustomed to engage with their preferred contents through a wide set of channels, technologies, formats and rituals. Both offering strategies by the producers and consumption habits by the publics can be tackled to highlight new forms of cross-media usage and new configurations of children as audience/users.
  • Parental mediation and family negotiation: notwithstanding the rising of mobile connectivity and out-of-home communication, family still stands as an environment affecting both media practices and interpretations developed by the children; at the same time, structural change in the household and families, alongside with cultural change, are reconfiguring values and strategies of parental mediation. What’s new about family negotiation of media technologies and contents?
  • Peer cultures and taste cultures: children are engaged in negotiating meanings and values in their peer groups, developing peculiar constellations of tastes and preferences and producing their own cultures. How do media contents enter the peer groups and contribute to shape their taste cultures? And, on the other hand, how does peer groups belonging contribute in orienting media taste and habits?
  • Agency and participation: children are social actors as well as adults are; but at what extent media cultures allow – or claim for – their agency and participation? After the “media savvy” or the “digital native” kids, what kind of children audiences are the scholars approaching? What models of “active publics” are the producers developing in the children media?
  • Media cultures, consumer cultures and the children: convergence between media cultures and consumer cultures is visible in such process as merchandising, where a mesh up of media texts and promotional gadgets gathers a line of commodities under one coherent concept, or product placement as a strategy of positioning a branded product within a desirable media context, trying to strengthen its image. This kind of convergence, very common in children media, rises a lot of questions about children consumptions and exploitation. How to answer them?
  • Media and play: media contents and platforms largely entered the realm of children play, so to make hard to distinguish them: on the one side, videogames and consoles colonized everyday life spaces and times, often incorporating mobile and domestic screens; on the other side, toys and games refer to or involve characters and narratives derived from media blockbusters. What is the media role in driving the playing activity? How do they affect social, cognitive and identity processes connected with playing?
  • Media and socialization: media cultures intertwine socialization, contributing to shape personal identity and social roles acquisition, and to define what is (or not) to be accepted as “normal” in a society; gender and age roles, moral values, lifestyles and behaviours are reproduced, confirmed and contested in the symbolic space of cultural productions, especially when addressed to children. What are the trends in media culture? And in the academic approach to this topic? What do we know about some specific issues such as gender roles, “sentimental education”, or pro-social attitudes? And what about some implications with children wellbeing and health?
  • Regulation and provisions: in the last 15 years, media regulators and producers contributed in establishing a set of normative frameworks and co-regulation systems to avoid that children could be jeopardized by inappropriate contents or contacts; public and private institutions stimulated content providers to a suitable availability and a better quality in their media production and broadcasting addressed to children. Parents associations and children advocacy groups often discussed this kind of statements. What is the “state of the art” in the permanent negotiation between these different stakeholders about children and media?
  • Globalization and glocalisation: we are facing globalization of both media and societies: media contents for children are more and more globalized and marketed on a global scale, and new generations are more likely to be “citizens of the globe”. What kind of relations between these processes and the claim for local cultural identities?

Manuscript submission guidelines

Length and font: The articles should be prepared in Microsoft Word programme, page format: A4; font: Times New Roman 11; double line spacing. Original articles should not exceed 8 000 words.

3.      Important dates

Submission of long abstracts (600-800 words): 14 January 2013
Notification of the accepted proposals: 1 February 2013
Full manuscript submission: 29 April 2013
Editorial decision of acceptance/refusal: 30 June 2013
Final version: 30 September 2013
Estimated date for publication: December 2013

4.      Contact information

Please send your proposal by email to the guest editors:
Piermarco Aroldi:
Cristina Ponte:


  • Erica L. Scharrer, Chair
  • Sahara Byrne, Vice-Chair
  • Esther Rozendaal, Secretary
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