Friends Like Me is a documentary project that features interviews with children and adolescents who share their experiences of what it is like to grow up in complex online communities using social media. Over the last five years, I have been interviewing and re-interviewing children as they grow into adults to see how their views and experiences change over time. These young voices often challenge the stereotypes of illiterate, naive, screen addicts and, instead, offer us a glimpse into the lives of a generation who are growing up deeply, emotionally invested in media as a form of self-expression and engagement.
This project aims to address a gap in communication between children and adults and to offer these video interviews as resources that can facilitate a more nuanced discussion about the experiences young people are having as they grow up in today’s media saturated culture. By learning more about the needs and experiences of young people, perhaps we, as adults, can find gentler ways to connect with them and guide them.
Manuela Maiguashca is a media activist who has worked as a media mentor for a decade with hundreds of students. She has seen, first hand, how social media apps and filmmaking tools have become a fundamental part of how young people learn, socialise, explore their identities and engage with the world. This project grew out of her experiences co-creating media with children and teenagers in after school clubs and media literacy programmes. She began in 2013 filming children of different ages (to compare experiences) as well as filming some children, periodically at different stages of their lives to see how their views and experiences would change over time (to explore longitudinal experiences). The media in this project offers both comparative and longitudinal insight into the child’s experiences as they develop over time.
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Friends Like Me Project ©2018