The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

The CMF Digital Debate – the Web we Want for our Kids

CMF Executive Committee Member, Marc Goodchild spoke at the Westminster Media Forum on 21st May.
Marc was presenting on a panel entitled "Engaging young audiences - multi-screen content, commercial strategies and safeguards".
Setting the agenda for the session, Marcaddressed some of the  issues that the CMF has been exploring of late, about how digital distribution is presenting new challenges in the way children's media is discovered and consumed across all sorts of devices. Marc pointed out that the big new media players dominating the market are not so new anymore (Facebook is 11 years old and You Tube is 10). Marc called on the digital platforms, attracting huge numbers of child users, to start 'acting their age' and put children's needs at the top of their agendas.

Marc argued that the success of these platforms at delivering the 'digital nirvana of interoperability across devices' means parents can no longer control what their children consume (even if they want to) and that platforms need to engage much better with producers, content owners and traditional channels to create a new social contract with parents and their children.
In Marc's words, the digital platforms "have become the new gatekeepers to what our children consume and therefore need to step up to that responsibility".

He reminded the audience that none of the top distribution, search or communication platforms is British-made and urged the room not just to assume that the current modus operandi should become the norm for how the web serves children - certainly not without more open debate or transparent policies. Marc added that whilst many of these digital giants do what they need to comply with the US COPPA laws, very few have a published children's policy and most have rather contradictory terms and conditions if you look at the small print.

With more and more children's producers and UK broadcasters getting involved with these new platforms, Marc concluded that the children's media industry probably has more influence than it believes to help shape the 'web of the future' and urged all parties to get more involved in the discussion and hold their partners to account.

The CMF will be exploring more of these issues at the Children's Media Conference, and will be contributing to a panel about the 'web we want for our children' on Friday 3rd July.< If you have particular views on this subject or would like to contribute to the wider debate please contact the CMF at  info@thechildrensmediafoundation.org with the subject line: The CMF Digital Debate

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)