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YorkU Scholars Hub - March 26th

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Markham Village Library

6031 Highway 7

Markham, ON L3P 3A7

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Join Markham Public Library and York University as we bring to Markham a taste of the university experience. Each month YorkU faculty will bring their amazing research and provide an opportunity for our community to learn something new. This month:

Influencers, Superfans and Micro-celebrities: Are our children labourers in the digital factory?

Dr. Natalie Coulter & Tamar Faber

Advertising to children has changed drastically in the past decade. Instead of relying on traditional costly forms of advertising, companies are turning to digital outlets to promote their products. Paid child influencers such as Sophie Grace, JoJo Siwa and the ubiquitous Ryan from Ryan’s Toys are YouTube Stars that dominate the landscape… but there are also countless other young people on social media promoting branded content. This might be to a small closed network of followers and it may be by an enthusiastic fan who wants their friends to love their favourite brand. However, for the most part, much of this promotional work is wholly uncompensated with the children rarely being paid. Our work begins by determining if these practices constitute as work, and by defining child labour in the new social networking economy. How can we protect our children from being unpaid workers in the digital factory?

Natalie Coulter is an Assistant Professor the department of Communication Studies and is the Director of the Institute for Digital Learning (IRDL).. She has a published a co-edited book entitled Youth Mediations and Affective Relations (2019), and her book Tweening the Girl: The Crystallization of the Tween Market was published in 2014. She has articles in the Journal of Consumer Culture, Canadian Journal of Communication, Journal of Children and Media, Popular Communication and Jeunesse. She is a founding member of the Association for Research on the Cultures of Young People (ARCYP).

Tamar Faber is a PhD Candidate in the Communication and Culture program at York University. She is currently working on a SSHRC funded project on Digital Childhood with Dr. Coulter. She is a youth scholar who is attuned to cultures of Hip Hop and fashion. She analyzes cultural understandings of ‘youth’ and explores the ways young people are studied and constructed. She is committed to interrogating methodology and argues for more inclusive, multidisciplinary, collaborative methods that prioritize young perspectives and points of view.

Dr. Natalie Coulter



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Markham Village Library

6031 Highway 7

Markham, ON L3P 3A7

Canada

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