We live in a rapidly changing social environment. It has been called as “The fourth industrial revolution” because new communication technologies such as global social media, smartphone, wearable computer, AI, big data, robot, and IoT (internet of things) have been emerged. These developments are experienced both on a local and global scale, bringing with them both risks and opportunities, particularly to children and young people who are often their most avid consumers. In this paper, I shall demonstrate through my ethnographic data that this has implications for questions of children’s rights.
My ethnographic research on Japanese engagement with media and ICT in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area started in 2000 and I had since extended the research to cover the newer developments and to include a comparative dimension. Fieldwork on young people and digital media was extended to the UK and the US in 2010 and 2011. The results demonstrated multi-dimensional audience engagement with mobile social media in terms of both the opportunities (connectivity, access, critical, tactics, collaboration, share and participation) and the risks (cyber bullying and defamation, infringement of privacy, hacking and stalking, over-dependency and addiction) of such engagement.
In this paper, I will focus on the opportunities of audience engagement in terms of digital literacy. I will demonstrate how the opportunities given by their engagement with mobile social media can promote children’s rights in the contemporary Japanese society.
Takahashi, T. “Preparing the Young for Japan’s Global Future: Opportunities in Digital Literacy” 2016 Preconference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), ‘Children’s and Young People’s Rights in the Digital Age’, LSE, UK, July 2016.