The Children’s Global Media Summit is ready to throw the rule book out the window. Curated this year by the BBC, the event will take place from December 5 to 7 at the Manchester Central Convention Complex in Manchester, England.
“We are in a really interesting time for children’s media and for children in general. Digital has changed everything in our industry over the last few years,” says Alice Webb, director of BBC Children’s and BBC North. “It’s a world without any boundaries in it at all, and so the old rules don’t apply anymore.”
Held every three years, The Children’s Global Media Summit plays host to more than 1,500 delegates from around the world. This year’s summit will feature 40 sessions exploring opportunities and issues around the children’s media industry, including the connection between mental health and media technology, fake news and advertising in the digital space.
Sessions have been curated around five categories–empowerment, education, innovation, freedom and entertainment–and Webb says they will push delegates to write new rules for the industry.
“The old rules no longer apply, and we as an industry really haven’t come to grips with what that means for the future,” she says. “I think we’re very good at looking at what the next year looks like and jumping on trends when they appear, but I don’t think we’re very good at pushing ourselves to examine what the opportunities are and responsibilities are when it comes to children and media in this completely unlimited space.”
New content and technology will be showcased by participants, and new research will also be presented throughout the summit. Webb says it was important to the BBC–which is overseeing the summit for the first time in almost 20 years–to bring together delegates from every corner of the world and the industry.
“It’s bringing together content creators, platform providers and policy makers. We all shape the future together,” she says of the event. “It would be remiss of us to talk about the future but not include regulation. Is it possible to regulate the internet? Never mind if it’s desirable or not, let’s be realistic: Is it possible or not? And if it’s not possible, then what should we do as responsible providers of media and media services for children?”
According to Webb, all of these discussions must be framed with the audience in mind. While many events focus on the industry itself, she says the Children’s Global Media Summit will focus instead on kids and their habits, expectations and needs.
For example, recent research from CBBC Newsround found more than 75% of kids in the UK have social media accounts by the age of 10, despite most platforms requiring users to be 13 or older.
In bringing together different facets of the industry–and by focusing on kids and their actual media habits–Webb believes the summit will provide insight into the future of children’s media and the role industry professionals must play in it moving forward.
“People will go away, hopefully, with new business opportunities and new connections–and a new network that, perhaps, they haven’t had previously because we’re bringing together these different types of delegates,” Webb says. “With all of the debate going on in society about how we properly come to grips with the opportunities and challenges of digital, it feels like the right moment in time. I would urge people to take this moment to get engaged in that wider debate.”
Registration for the Children’s Global Media Summit is currently open.