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The importance of including young children’s voices in decisions that impact them is highlighted by international research and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This research project aims to identify the topics that young children consider interesting and to explore the ways that they like to document and share their interests with other people. The study also acknowledges the growing overlap between young children and different media technologies, and children’s lived experiences in information technology-rich environments. The research project adopted a qualitative methodology incorporating an exploratory and participatory approach. A small group of five children (4-5 years old) in Dublin, Ireland was selected to participate in a series of child-friendly and creative activities. The children were given the opportunity to select and use papers and pens, digital cameras or disposable cameras to document their interests. The information-documenting activity using their preferred media yielded children’s drawings, photographs and stories about their interests. Data suggests that there are a number of ways children could document and share their interests with other people using different media. While it may be true that there are risks particularly with the use of digital technologies, this research project demonstrates how it also has powerful potential for participation. This is especially true since it has been found that these technologies are part of the children’s everyday lives. The data also suggests that the children’s interests include personal details about themselves, their activities, of other people, and of nature and places, all of which contribute to children’s developing aspect of identity and belonging. These themes of interests also suggest that children are interested in a balance of environments and experiences. Overall, the research project demonstrates the children’s capability to participate, using their preferred media, simply because they are given the chance.
Oropilla, C. (2014) Children’s Voices in Exploring Their Interests Using Different Media. Masters Dissertation, Technological University Dublin.