Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child welcomes visiting scholar
REDI’s Deakin node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child has welcomed Professor Ines Vitorino, a visiting scholar who will be conducting research focusing on children’s use of social media.
Professor Vitorino’s research focuses on consumer culture, children’s rights and wellbeing in digital culture. Her role in the Centre will examine children’s participation in social media as influencers, on platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, and will focus on a project called ‘Children and youth as change agents: challenges for building global citizenship’. The study will follow a select group of children’s channels on the platforms mentioned, map different forms of participation in Brazilian social life, and make national and global comparisons.
“Children are participating more than ever in public life via social networks,” Professor Vitorino said.
“While not always in defence of children’s best interests, and in a very contradictory way, the market has fostered this participation. Popular young digital influencers reach billions of users and become references for others. In testimonies, games, role plays, and more, they deal with issues of gender, racism, social inequality, while seeking to understand, maintain or change their world.”
Professor Vitorino is Professor of Social Communication at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) Brazil and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. She has joined the Digital Child team for a year as an Associate Investigator under the invitation of Dr Luci Pangrazio. Professor Vitorino’s research aligns with the Digital Child centre’s holistic view of children’s digital experiences, and she says the Centre’s unique cross-disciplinary approach was a key reason why she wanted to conduct her research within the Centre.
“I am fascinated with the Centre’s commitment to discuss how to balance access to social and knowledge connections in the digital world against risks of surveillance, infringements of privacy and children’s rights,” explained Professor Vitorino.
“I hope to deepen my knowledge of the many ways in which such spaces empower children as agents of change in the world—or waste their potential as citizens.”