On January 10 at 3 pm the Network will be hosting a seminar of three PhD candidates as they prepare conference presentations on the issues of child rights and children’s participation. Bekkah Berheim, Yan Zhu and Amelia Alias would love if you would come along to hear about their work, particularly if this if your area of interest! Please see the abstracts below for more information.
When: 10 January 2018, 3 pm
Where: 21 Buccleuch Place, Room 2.02 (map)
Benefits and Disadvantages of Internet Parental Mediation Strategies
There is growing concern over the lack of recognition of children’s rights in the online environment, mainly regarding participation and provision rights. This article has filled in this gap by combining the discussion of elements of children’s rights, i.e. protection, provision and participation, with privacy and autonomy. This was done by comparing the benefits and disadvantages between the five Internet parenting mediation strategies (IPMS) in terms of the above elements. The IPMS are: active mediation, active co-use, restrictive mediation, monitoring mediation and technical mediation.
This discussion draws on findings from a study conducted to better understand children’s and parents’ perceptions of online privacy, through semi-structured one-to-one interviews with 26 pupils, aged 9 to 11 years old, and 8 parents. Additionally, 10 focus group sessions were also conducted with 57 pupils in one of school in Scotland.
Findings showed that between these five IPMS, active mediation is seen as the ideal Internet mediation strategy, as it is able to balance children’s privacy with supporting the development of children’s trust of the other actors on the Internet, and fully supports children’s development of autonomy in terms of making decisions about their participation and provision in the online environment. However, the study also recognises that this strategy may not be appropriate for very young children and may not be palatable to many parents until they are comfortable that their children have developed at least some of the necessary skills to navigate the online environment safely on their own. As such, this study suggests that the IPMS should be seen as a continuum, from the less autonomy-supporting strategies to more autonomy-supportive strategies; the active mediation strategy should be seen as a final end-goal for parents.
Student leader system in Chinese school’s organizing system:
A child participation practice with a risk of causing children experiences of unbalanced power relation in peer relationships
The idea of encouraging ‘child participation’ is increasingly accepted and applied by many countries as an important approach to contribute the development of children’s rights. However, in different contextualized cases, child participation practices need to be carefully examined to ensure the positive result of empowering children in different contexts. Based on the data collected in a 5-month ethnographic fieldwork with forty-nigh P5 children in a rural boarding school in China, this paper aims at discussing children’s experiences of ‘student leader’ system – one widely used child participation practice in many Chinese schools.
This paper firstly introduces the function of ‘student leader’, and the close relationships between high-able children’s advantage of the academic performance, the role of ‘student leader’, and the power amongst peers. Then this paper focuses on showing the positive results of involving a group of children as ‘student leaders’ to support teachers to manage other children from the perspective of child participation. The third section of this paper involves the idea of ‘power-oriented instrumental friendship’, which is a type of friendship found between these P5 children with a significant characteristic of highlighting friendship’s instrumental function of providing a chance to share friends’ power. In the end, this paper aims at pointing out the problematic unbalanced power relation between children involved in the ‘power-oriented instrumental friendship’ to disclose the risk that children with more power, such as student leaders, might take advantage of their power to marginalize and exploit children with less power. In fact, this paper believes that this risk experienced by children with relatively weak power amongst peers in classrooms could raise a call that it is important to count in the equality of every child’s school life experiences when employ and evaluate any child participation practices to simultaneously promote the ideas of child participation and child protection.
The Impact of Culturally Informed Conceptualizations of Childhood on Research and Policy Direction in Armenia
In modern Armenian society, girls are marginalized. The patriarchal nature of Armenian society excludes girls’ experiences from the policy landscape, and little research exists representing their views. The Syrian Crisis led to the exodus of ethnically Armenian Syrians back to Armenia, including many girls. This paper critically reflects on the challenges I encountered researching the socio-cultural integration of Syrian-Armenian girls displaced to Armenia by the ongoing Syrian Crisis. The research was an exploratory study, and included a brief documentary analysis, interviews with local stakeholders, and a focus group for Syrian-Armenian girls. Of particular interest in this paper is the reaction of local stakeholders, who met my decision to focus on girls’ experiences with a mixture of curiosity, confusion, and abject dismissal which then affected data collection. This paper seeks to address to what extent local cultural definitions and understandings of childhood should drive the direction of international children’s rights research and policy.
This paper fits within the scope of a growing corpus of cross-disciplinary research documenting the experiences of researchers doing qualitative research with children and young people internationally. The meaningful inclusion of children’s views, the recognition of power imbalances between children and adults, and multiple understandings of childhood are just a few of the considerations frequently discussed in this literature. This paper also interrogates how cultural and language differences, and varying conceptualization of childhood among local stakeholders, children, and researchers, can influence data collection, research findings, and subsequent policy development. The dual challenges arising from the international scope of the research and the complexity of accurately and ethically researching with children and young people necessitates a critical and reflexive approach to the research process.