Teresa Sofia Castro

This book builds on actual conversations and situations lived and narrated by school-aged children/pre-adolescents themselves, collected in fieldwork context. Using a research with the children approach, the accounts collected reflect children’s perspectives, concerns, and experiences about their digital lives. Using a bottom-up approach, some of these narratives were selected to create a plot. This first story not only gives these children a voice about matters that concern them, but it also mirrors real children and everyday life situations.

This is the first volume of the collection, in which the social networking sites (Facebook and Instagram), children’s digital rights, self-expression, social media literacies, peer pressure, parental mediation, and meeting strangers online are aspects reflected in the plot. Marta – the main character – guides us through real life-based events living the challenges and opportunities offered by the digital world, which deeply intersect with the lives of other people (peers, relatives, her teacher) and her well-being. Premika is the bionic being (a sort of immaginary friend) that by communicating telepathically with Marta – making noises and empathically changing her colour – reflects Marta’s emotions along the story and helps her go through key dilemmas.

This book allows other children and adults to enter their worlds by actively participating in the narrative. Unlike traditional stories, and offers the reader the chance to choose in which way he/she wants the story to develop with effects in the plot and the characters. The story has six different endings.

From a pedagogical point of view, this book is a tool that helps adults – parents, carers, educators, and teachers – to see these topics through children’s eyes. As digital media become embedded in family and children’s daily dynamics and routines, this book is an educational exercise that aims to bring generations together in a reflexive dialogue to promote a positive approach and a responsible, healthy and secure use of digital technologies. At the end of the book, one can also find tips to use social network sites safely and a glossary of terms used in the story.

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