App allows kids to report multimedia contents
MediaKids was created by researchers at the UAB Institute of Law and Technology as part of the RecerCaixa programme. The app aims to increase participation and co-responsibility of civil society in the prevention of risks generated by ICTs.
Enric Banda, Director of the Science and Environment Unit of the ”la Caixa” Foundation, and researchers Emma Teodoro and Jorge González, from the Institute of Law and Technology (IDT-UAB), together with Carme Figueras, member of the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC), presented at the CosmoCaixa Barcelona an innovative application for mobile devices which allows users to report multimedia content they consider to be inappropriate, illegal or potentially harmful to the rights and interests of minors.
The mobile app MediaKids is up and running and can be downloaded freely. It was designed to be used by anyone, but particularly by children and young adults, since it can automatically classify and send the information one wishes to report to the Catalan Audiovisual Council in a completely anonymous manner.
This tool is unique in Europe, where there is currently no other mobile app offering this type child and young adult protection. It is included in a larger research project entitled MediaKids: aplicació per a mòbil per a la protecció de menors i joves davant de continguts lesius multimèdia .The project is part of the RecerCaixa excellence in research programme, promoted by the Catalan Association of Public Universities and the ”la Caixa” Social Projects. The programme's objective is to increase and facilitate participation and co-responsibility of civil society, particularly that of children and young adults, in the prevention of risks generated by ICTs, as well as foster a critical attitude towards these technologies. This approach implies a change in paradigm in the existing control and regulation systems, which assign a passive role to minors and leave the reporting to parents, educators and other competent agents.
The development of the application received the support of the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC) and the European Observatory for Children's TV (OETI). Attending the presentation was also Hug Llàcer, education coordinator of the Escola Ramon Fuster in Bellaterra – Fundació Collserola, a centre which participated in a digital education action organised by IDT-UAB.
How it Works
MediaKids was designed taking into consideration the age and consumption habits of children and young adults. It is easy to use, given that through a series of screens, different questionnaires appear which allow the user to determine what type of content they wish to report (programme, advertisement, film or videogame) and the channel or platform on which it was seen (television, radio, internet), with the aim of aiding in the categorisation process. In addition, users can incorporate images which offer more information to the description, as well give their opinion, add a comment or make a suggestion.
At the moment, the app forwards the reports it receives to the following entities: Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC); Defender of Audience Rights' of the Catalan Audiovisual Coorporation; the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sports(Cinema and Audiovisuals Section), and the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) Autocontrol and System for videogames. This could be expanded to include other entities such as the association Protégeles or the police.
The application is available in Catalan and Spanish for android devices and is circumscribed to Catalonia. However, a version for iPhones will be available soon and the authors do not disregard broadening its use to other parts of the state.
Digital Familiarisation Programme for Schools
To foster a critical attitude among minors, the project MediaKids also offers an education programme on digital contents and devices for secondary school students in three centres which have received the support of the CAC and worked with experts and psychologists from OETI. The secondary school centres participating were IES Damià Campeny in Mataró, IES Jaume Balmes in Barcelona and Escola Ramon Fuster in Bellaterra – Fundació Collserola.
The results of this action, and the conclusions reached, will be announced in the following months, once the project has concluded.
MediaKids in Catalan
MediaKids in Spanish