Empowering children through media

Children are the future of our cities. In their everyday lives, media plays a central role. They chat with their friends, view online content, and some even make and share their own creative content. Social media not only is a source of entertainment, but can also help to maintain relationships and affords a space for self-expression and identity construction. On top of that, using social media can help increase one’s self-esteem. The presenters of this session will discuss specific ways in which media can empower children and adolescents.

After an introduction to the topic of the session and its theoretical background, the speakers will, by means of two presentations, present two different projects in which the issue at hand is currently being researched. The first presentation will focus on the importance of media use in the lives of migrant children that are settling in in the Netherlands. The second presentation will depart from the perspective of children in cities, focusing on Rotterdam, and how media use can play a role in the construction of their identities, specifically what we call their ‘urban identity’.

After these two presentations, the floor will be opened for an interactive session during which we invite ideas about other ways to empower children with or without media.

This session will show the audience that media play an essential role in the everyday lives of children and should not be underestimated as a tool for empowerment. The speakers not only aim to present the different ways to research this phenomenon among children, but will also show how their collaborations with (local) initiatives in society are key factors in making these studies possible.

Speakers: Anne van Eldik, Julia Kneer, & Jeroen Jansz

Anne van Eldik

Anne van Eldik is a PhD candidate in the Erasmus Research Center for Media, Communication & Culture. Her research is part of the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens. The project focuses on how young people in cities use and produce media and how this helps them construct or negotiate their urban identity. She obtained a master’s degree in Media, Culture & Society, and a Research master’s degree in Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication. Her current research interests include media engagement, the role of social media in identity construction among adolescents, and creative media use in an urban context.

Julia Kneer

Julia Kneer is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication. She studied Psychology at Saarland University, received her PhD in Social Psychology in 2006 and her Habilitation in 2013. Her research focus lies on digital games, health communication, music perception, social cognition and media usage and effects in general. Julia is currently chair of the Game Studies Division of the International Communication Association.


Jeroen Jansz

Jeroen Jansz holds the Chair of Communication and Media in the Department of Media & Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research is about the caption of new media. The appeal of digital games is a long-standing research interest. Jansz has (co-) authored about 45 international scientific publications and 3 international books, and about 30 scientific publications and 4 books in Dutch. For an overview see http://jeroenjansz.nl