Hamburg, 19.10.2022. Children and adolescents who participate in research projects must give their free and informed consent to this. But do they understand what is meant by this? An animated short film playfully explains to children why it is important for them to participate in research projects and what rights they have as participants. The film is intended to serve as a tool for researchers and teachers to help children and young people understand research and the ethical issues involved.
A chicken with reading glasses and a child with turquoise hair are the protagonists of the short film. The chicken, a renowned scientist, wants to investigate an important research question: "Do we really need homework?". In doing so, he meets the turquoise-haired child, who reveals his opinion on the subject in a survey.
Animated in a child-friendly way, the film takes the viewer through the entire research process, explains the significance of science in society, why it is important that young people also participate in it and what rights they have. The film is the product of an initiative of the Institute for Media and Communication at the University of Oslo in cooperation with the Norwegian Research Ethics Committee (FEK) and RedAnt Productions. It was produced and published as part of the Horizon 2020 project CO:RE - Children Online: Research and Evidence, coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for Media Research (HBI).
In order for children to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in research, researchers need to explain complex ethical considerations in an age-appropriate and understandable way. To this end, the animated film has transformed the consent explanations that are often presented to adolescents in paper form into an understandable cinematic format.
"We wanted to find a way to communicate the ethical principles related to free and informed consent in a child-friendly and accessible language and form. This film is intended as a tool for researchers who need to obtain informed consent in their own projects. At the same time, we hope that it will also contribute to a broader understanding of research, especially among children and young people," said CO:RE project partner Prof Elisabeth Staksrud from the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo, who was responsible for making the film.
The film has been released in 12 languages so far, including Norwegian, English, Spanish, German and Turkish. Further translations are planned to make the information accessible to children and young people from as many European countries as possible.
More information about the different language versions and the project partners can be found at: http://core-evidence.eu/posts/open-source-movie-childrens-rights-as-research-participants
The film was produced for the project CO:RE - Children Online: Research and Evidence and supported by the Horizon 2020 funding programme of the European Commission. The production of the film was also supported by the Norwegian Research Foundation's FORSTERK programme and the UiO:Norden initiative at the University of Oslo.
Children and young people are online every day. The international data on children and online media is extensive, heterogeneous and partly contradictory. The project CO:RE - Children Online: Research and Evidence aims to create a comprehensive international knowledge platform with the participation of international researchers, educators and policy makers. The online platform core-evidence.eu provides an overview of the research situation, enables access to empirical data, offers various resources and materials, and thus carries out important transfer work that allows scientific evidence to reach where it is needed for knowledge-based decisions. The Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI) coordinates the project.