The web is no longer a place where children are left to observe. With the rise in technology and the increasing savvy of children in regards to the Internet, children are moving from spectator to participant. This is good news for parents as the web is becoming a safer place for children to express their views of the complicated world around them in the form of kid generated animation, blogging, vblogging. etc.
According to a recent study carried out by Grunwald Associates, the number of content contributing children is growing exponentially and isn’t even close to hitting its peak. Within the 2004 survey group of children between the ages of six and seventeen, 10 percent of those, approximately two million youthful users have staked out their own personal space on the web.
Of those two million users, children from 9 to 12 make up nine percent with 33% of those surveyed having plans to open their own website. This number was expected to triple by 2005. The numbers have climbed according to expectation and now in 2007 those numbers are climbing even higher.
Internet media outlets that once geared their content for consumption by children have seen this trend of active participation and are opening up their doors to accept those children learning to talk back to the world through blogging, and kid generated video and animation.
Internet media outlets like Nickelodeon have heard the call of their viewers and are setting the stage for something truly revolutionary in the area of entertainment. In fact, in an article released in March of 2007, Nickelodeon announced that they are in the midst of creating a live-action show that will be based on content generated by their viewers. The show is called, iCarly and will be hosted by Carly (played by Miranda Cosgrove). The concept of this particular show is that Carly is the Webmaster of her own home-based streaming webcast. During the show, Carly will give her viewers assignments of media creation. The viewers then can generate their own kid generated video content and post it to the iCarly website. The content then has the potential for rebroadcast on iCarly or can be used as content for the web-based portions of the show.
This will allow the children the opportunity to hone their creative skills using the digital media becoming so prevalent in today’s entertainment market. This activation of their demographic allows the children to explore the creative possibilities available to them, speak out about issues important to them or just plain have fun. Parents will also enjoy their children’s active hand as it provides the opportunity for the parent’s involvement in their children’s lives and creative development. Educators hail this move as a tremendous step forward in child education. By creating an outlet, these Internet entertainment providers are freeing children from their joysticks, turning them from video game junkies to active socially aware Internet citizens. This will change the Internet from an endless predatory children’s marketplace into a platform for thoughtful and creative expression for and by children.