Children’s media making, but not sharing: The potential and limitations of child-specific DIY media websites for a more inclusive media landscape

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Making Media Participatory



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From drawing pictures to making home movies, children have long produced their own, do-it-yourself (DIY) media at the individual and local scales. Today, children’s DIY media creation increasingly takes place online, using digital technologies and tools that allow them to not only produce but also share their ideas with the world. This article relays findings from the first stages of a threeyear inquiry project into the opportunities and challenges associated with the rise of children’s online DIY media: an extensive media scan to identify websites and an in-depth content analysis of the terms and conditions, privacy policies and overall site designs. Among our key findings is the discovery that a narrow emphasis on making and a systematic disregard for the crucial role of sharing predominate the current children’s online DIY media environment. Furthermore, corporate ownership claims and a lack of features aimed at enabling user interaction often diminish the sites’ potential to advance children’s cultural rights and educational opportunities. We conclude that a disproportionate emphasis on making as a form of individualised learning has led to an undermining of crucial dimensions of children’s DIY media.