A sum up of the conference Digital Kids Today 2018
For the second year in a row, Interactive Denmark, Cross Motion and Funday Factory hosted the conference Digital Kids Today. The conference that started in 2017 has proved to touch upon an area of interest that attracts both international speakers as well as a growing audience. At the 2018 conference, we’ve seen an overwhelming support with a 100% increase in the number of attendees - creating a buzzing atmosphere and a room for great networking.
Digital Kids Today 2018 was an all-day conference with 7 different - and very interesting - talks. All of them based on the subject of today’s digital kids. The speakers touched upon themes such as children’s safety, the role of voice in life and play, the split role between producing and publishing content, the importance of humour and how to create and IP that is cross-platform functional.
Below, we’ll take you through the highlights of the talks.
“Digital content for all kids” by Johanne Bagge from Danmarks Radio
Danmarks Radio’s prime goal is to produce high quality digital content for all kids - but with the fierce competition for the kids’ attention, DR is now becoming a publisher as well as a content producer. To break through the media barrier, Johanne provided us with recommendations on how to reach those tricky kids, and here’s one we’d love to pass on: Shout about one thing, boost only one piece of content at a time and create a shout that fits and supports a broad range of media platforms to make your content memorable in the minds of the picky kids.
“The role of voice in life and play” by Jelena Stosic from Kids Industries
Jelena held an interesting talk on the power of voice. At an early stage, we learn how to use our voice to interact with parents, friends and society in general. But now, with the new technological possibilities, our voice is becoming a tool to control technology - like the smart speaker from Amazon, Alexa. And that comes with both pros and cons: Being able to control surroundings through the use of voice helps kids develop their vocabulary, comprehension and pronunciation, but the question is: What will robots do to kids’ manners and ability to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’?
“Kids are idiots” by Frederik Hansen from OK Monkey
With a somewhat provocative title, Frederik held a vibrant, interesting and funny talk on kids and humour. The central topic was that kids are idiots when it comes to humour. And with a gasping audience, Frederik explained why: Kids have no experience, don’t know empathy, are not able to think abstractly and have no real understanding of sarcasm, satire and irony - all because kids are learning to be fun and understand fun. With hilarious examples, we were given the ingredients needed to create funny characters in the eyes of kids: A comic perspective, exaggeration, flaws and humanity. Just think of the cookie monster from Sesame Street - funny guy right? Now you know why.
“Making digital toys” by Petter Karlsson from Toca Boca
To kick off his talk, Petter provided the audience with the definitions of games and toys. With games being about rules, achievement and competition and toys about open-ended play, imagination and self-expression, it comes as no surprise that Toca Boca produce digital toys for kids. Another key take-away from Petter’s talk centered around the topic of gender neutrality and especially diversity - and the goal: “No kid should ever feel excluded by Toca Boca”. Here, Petter talked about how Toca Boca are making digital experiences that take into account aspects such as cultural & physical characteristics, body shapes and family structures - making the apps inclusive universes for each and every kid. His passion for the topic was clear as was his is invitation to the audience to think about if and how they want to contribute to diversity in their content production for kids.
“Building the internet for kids” by Paul Nunn & Joshua Wöhle from SuperAwesome
With internet safety and personal data being all the rage at the moment, we were more than happy to have SuperAwesome as part of the program. The two super awesome speakers talked about the difficulties of making the internet a kid safe zone, and pointed out the essence of the struggle: Kids are on the internet - but the internet wasn’t built for them. And for anyone who works with the development of digital content, data security seems like a hassle - but SuperAwesome has made it their mission to make the web a safer place and to make people see that rules and regulation are a golden opportunity rather than a threat.
“Inviting children to be co-creators” by Mads Bønløkke Pedersen from Funday Factory and Rikke Toft Nørgaard from Aarhus University
In a debate between the practitioner Mads Bønløkke Pedersen, play designer at Funday Factory and theoretician Rikke Toft Nørgaard, PhD from Aarhus University, the audience learned what it takes to co-create with kids. Our very own Mads emphasised that in order to create games, the kids need the right tools and processes while Rikke focused on the importance of themes, imagination and reflection. The debate was an interesting view into the cross field of practice and theory.
“How to create TV animation-friendly game IP” by Brad Merritt from Cartoon Network
Have you ever wondered why it’s so tricky to make a good game based on a TV series and vice versa? Well - that’s because they’re not built for multiple platforms in the first place. This was the topic of the final talk at Digital Kids Today 2018 where Brad provided the audience with valuable tips and tricks on how to make characters for both games and TV series. First, you need to make sure that you build an appropriate amount of characters - one is simply not enough to make a TV show work and too many won’t do in a game. Second, you need to consider the size and shape of the characters so they fit both the game genre and the television screen and are easily recognised. And finally, It’s no longer about creating characters that the kids want to be like as it has been with the stereotypical superheroes - it’s about creating characters that the kids want to be friends with.
We hope you enjoyed the highlights - and in case you missed this year’s Digital Kids Today, we hope to see you next year where we’ll expand the success.