Children on Social Media

This project examines the growing phenomenon of children, under 13, using social media platforms for social and communication purposes. We focus on the teacher's perspective through questionnaire responses from 57 elementary school teachers. We also conduct a preliminary exploration of the Facebook practices of three children.

Sandra Chang-Kredl talks about hate speech, freedom of expression, and social media usage and education.

Comics

Facebook Profiles

From our research we constructed based on the teachers’ concerns an at-risk portrait, a healthy media literate portrait and then one that we considered to be an actual use or actual portrait.

Nancy represents what the teachers imagine as the positive aspects of children’s use of social media: the media-literate, digital citizen. Note how Nancy uses Facebook to communicate with friends and relatives, for school purposes, to share causes that are important to her, and to develop her interests and perspectives in social issues and global news.

nancy

Kenzie is a composite of the teachers’ responses that were more heavily weighted toward negative consequences of Facebook use. Note how Kenzie engages in content and visuals that educators and parents traditionally deem “inappropriate” (i.e., profane language and gestures) and superficial (focus on appearance features).

kenzie

The portrait of Mia is based on actual children’s use of Facebook. This profile includes regular, humorous comments that seem to reflect an extension of Mia’s everyday identity.

miaIn addition, this infographic explains our findings.

childrenonfacebook_infographic_web

Team

Sandra Chang-Kredl PhD (Principal investigator)

Sandra Chang-Kredl is Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Concordia University. She researches teacher identity, children's popular culture, curriculum studies, and cultural studies. 

Stephanie Kozak

Stephanie Kozak is a Research Assistant and Ph.D. Student in Department of Education at Concordia University.

Paper

Understanding Children’s Use of Facebook: A Canadian Perspective

Chang-Kredl, S. and Kozak, S. 

 

Abstract 

Despite official prohibitions against the use of Facebook for children under the age of 13, it is clear that children are, in fact, habitual Facebook users. In this paper, we explore, from a teacher perspective, this growing phenomenon from a Canadian perspective, specifically in Quebec. We examine questionnaire responses from 57 elementary level teachers (in-service and pre-service) regarding their perspectives on children’s use of social media, and we conduct a  preliminary exploration of children’s Facebook practices through examining four case studies. Our purpose is to understand the significance of social media in the lives of children and their teachers. 

 

(Under review with the Journal of Media Literacy Education.)