When entertainment doesn’t do its best to reflect real people and real-life experiences by diversifying its characters, we “real people” feel cheated.
Schooled by YouTube, lured by $$$ on Instagram, millennials are tapping their inner creator, monetizing their influence and selling their #BrandofMe. We put "monetization" under the microscope & examine the marketing practice of hiring youth with far-reaching social networks to sell brands.
Read more »
Characters with Disabilities: The Deficiency of Difference in Children’s Media
When entertainment doesn’t do its best to reflect real people and real-life experiences by diversifying its characters, we “real people” feel cheated.Blog archive »
Watch on YouTube »
The kidsmediacentre is a research centre and children's industry think tank at Centennial College's Story Arts Centre. Working with our Children's Media Program and ECE Labs, we research children's media experiences and provide a range of creative research tools to help kids' content producers develop meaningful and inspiring entertainment.
An Ethical Framework
kidsmediacentre launches groundbreaking Ethical Framework and Best Practices Report for Ontario children's developers
The kidsmediacentre, faculty and students at Centennial College embarked on a research journey to better understand developer challenges, practices and attitudes around content creation in the fast moving children's digital landscape.
Our goal was to develop a framework for understanding and creating ethical and appropriate marketing practices for reaching young audiences.Research details »
Media Literate Kids
Kids' Panel - Picks & Pans | A savvy group of kids with a strong point of view about the media and the culture they consume.
Read what our kids' panel media critics have to say as they deconstruct the culture.
- Kris says: "Libby — an app developed by OverDrive Labs — Is a resource to read ebooks and listen to audiobooks that’s available on Google Pla..."
- Noah says: "I recently finished reading Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat. Set in the north of Canada, it tells the tale of two young boys strand..."
- Emanuel says: "Build Zone is a video series on YouTube by the Lego company. The show is very descriptive and interesting because the hosts REALLY put ..."
- Joshua says: "All the way from Uganda, Joshua shares his love of dance and where he gets his inspirations!..."
- Ava Joy says: "Little Ava introduces us to the world of Furby Connect with the cutest flare!..."
- Emanuel says: "Even with a cold, Emanuel gives a thorough report on the world of Slugterra!..."
- Noah says: "Intricate and plot twisting, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a suspenseful dystopian novel. Overall, I give this book 4.5/5 stars...."
- Julia says: "Keeping in contact with a friend. Knowing what the weather is going to be the next day. Kids these days are constantly immersed in a te..."
- Kris says: "The premise of the Space Between Us was interesting but the movie’s plot was underwhelming. In my opinion, it receives a 3/5 rating...."
- James says: "For my 15th birthday I was able to upgrade from the iPhone 5c to last year's model, the iPhone 6s. This has by far been my favourite re..."
- Characters with Disabilities: The Deficiency of Difference in Children’s Media
- The Writing on the Digital Wall: Kids and Creativity
As a child makes their way through their educational journey, one universal truth cannot be escaped: one must learn to write, and write well, to succeed.
- Lessons from ‘Little Lunch’
In a Saturday morning TV landscape dominated by kid crime fighters, inventors and superheroes, Little Lunch provides a refreshing focus on regular kids.
- To Post or Not to Post: Baby Edition
Remember the days when everyone was nervous about posting baby pictures online? Have parents forgotten these warnings?
- Finding the Right Piece: Autism and Children’s Media – Sesame Street Introduces Julia
Sesame Street recently added its first autistic character – Julia – to its permanent roster. Autism advocates and medical professionals should rejoice.
- Superheroes Aren’t for Kids Anymore
Those of us who read Batman, Superman and Avengers comics are stoked about the movies. But the market of superheroes for children is declining.
- Social Media for Kids: What’s Out There?
Should kids use social media. Luckily for parents, options are popping up with a shared concept: the internet can be fun and safe.
- Meme, Myself and I
Ah, memes – possibly the best thing to happen on the Internet! Who knew that so few words and the perfect picture can bring people from all over the globe together?
- Parents, Back to You: New Screen Time Guidelines for Children
Tech is part of our lives and can be effective at keeping kids occupied. But there needs to be a limit on how much of their worldview comes from a screen.
- Indigenous Reads
A lady came into the kid’s bookstore where I work a couple of days ago. She gravitated immediately towards the display showcasing Indigenous kids’ stories.
Is your children's entertainment property sufficiently EPIC to make the grade?
Finally, a strategic planning and user engagement research centre for the children's content industry in Canada!Read more »
Applied Research Partnerships = Funding ($) and support for kids' cross-platform properties
Consider partnering with Centennial to help grow your kids' brand. Our interdisciplinary faculty and all-star students apply their expertise to help develop your children's property!Read more »
Social Science Research
Exploring children's media futures
Using a combination of innovative research methods and collective creativity, the kidsmediacentre works on behalf of children's creative industries to generate knowledge and applied opportunities for those connected to the children's space.Read more »
Leaders Talk Kids' Media
Missed that last youth industry conference? Hear what leaders in the kids industry have to say about developing engaging and relevant content for kids.
- “Working with the kidsmediacentre is always a wise choice strategically as well as a pleasure from an interpersonal standpoint. Debbie Gordon and her team are smart, skilled researchers and excellent presenters. I have learned more working with them than I have with any other consultancy. I believe it’s the breadth of expertise and the ability to execute with an eye to market success that makes them a key member of both the academic and private sector.”
—Miriam Verburg • Owner & Executive Producer, Bloom Digital - LongStory
- “We have worked with Deb Gordon and the kidsmediacentre for several years and she and her team of students are very trusted research partners. Debbie has a deep understanding of children, their motivators and perceptions and has worked with us on Paw Patrol, Rusty Rivets, Little Charmers and Abby Hatcher.”
—Arwen Hunter • Director, Research and Consumer Insights, Spin Master
- “Centennial College’s kidsmediacentre – led by the intrepid Debbie Gordon – is a crown jewel in the Canadian kids media research and production ecosphere. As the Director of TIFF Kids, one of the world’s largest children’s film and media festivals (50K visitors annually), I cannot overstate the importance of the mission, vision and hard work of the kidsmediacentre team and student body.
In a world where mind-bogglingly rapid (and commercially driven) technological development is stretching the boundaries of what it means to be ‘media literate’, the critical perspectives and industry collaborations fostered here provide a vital service to all those struggling to keep up. The TIFF Kids team rely on (and are most grateful for) their expertise in helping us make informed selections regarding digital content; develop media literacy activities; and stay connected to producers through their myriad industry connections.”
—Elizabeth Muskala • Director, TIFF Kids
- “Our collaboration with Debbie Gordon, Director of the kidsmediacentre, and Bohdan Ruzycky, Digital Visual Effects Coordinator and Professor at Centennial College brought to life our ambitious vision and desire to create child-friendly video games to support physical therapy in an enjoyable way. The Centennial College team provided high-quality expertise through their many talented students and alumni from their Game Art and Design, Interactive Media Management and Fine Arts program. The enthusiasm, dedication, and drive of the team was unparalleled and we were continually blown away by their creative output.
“The insights of the team were vital in our efforts to create an interactive experience that, while feeling like a mainstream game, achieved specific therapy goals unique to our application for children with disabilities. The Centennial College team was also quick to understand what we were looking for, as well as the specialized needs of our target audience. Our collaboration with Centennial College was extremely rewarding not only for us, but for the many children that we serve, and enabled us to create a series of games that are now being used and enjoyed by children in rehabilitation clinics at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.”
—Elaine Biddiss, PhD, PEng
• Scientist, Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
• Assistant Professor, Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto
- “Research played an essential role in the development of a unique NDi project focused on the well-being of young children and their families. The thoughtfulness and consideration brought to bear by Debbie Gordon and the kidsmediacentre team, and in particular the insights highlighted in the research reports, allowed us to improve the focus and strengthen the effectiveness of our app. Throughout the course of a year, we collaborated on the research, built and tested our prototype and conducted a thorough investigation on its feasibility.
“The dedication and experience of the leadership at kidsmediacentre in understanding and exploring the inner experience of children and media is an inspiration. We have learned so much and appreciate the opportunity to have worked with you. Thank you.”
—Neil Smolar • CEO and Executive Producer, NDi Media
- “It has truly been a pleasure working with Debbie Gordon and the kidsmediacentre over the past year, focus testing two of our preschool properties. Although each property was distinctly different, with diverse origins and unique approaches, the kidsmediacentre was able to help us unify our vision for future approaches in developing properties.
“Their collaborative process was a welcome opportunity for us, as producers, to step outside what can at times be a secluded development process and bring fresh, informed eyes to our projects. The kmc works exceptionally well with the preschool community, and young audiences, to gather and assess information and present it back to producers in an honest and concise manner.
“We are excited about working with the kidsmediacentre on our future projects, in all demographics, and value their input as a partner in our development process.”
—Heather Walker • Owner/Producer, Yowza!
- “The kidsmediacentre offers a uniquely valuable research resource, as they tap groups of kids from their childcare lab school and other ECE partners that span the preschool, kindergarten ages and older. For the project I was involved with, it was particularly helpful for the creators and the production partners to be able to see first-hand how children of different ages perceived and appreciated the stories and characters.
“In addition, because Debbie has so much experience with this audience, she is especially qualified to tailor the research to meet the specific needs of the project. It’s very difficult to ensure that kids are going to give you the response you need, but because of the experience of the team at the kidsmediacentre, they know how to best present the material and ask the questions that are going to give their clients the most informative and helpful answers.”
—Kate Barris • Writer
- “Any experienced and successful Children’s Producer knows you need to constantly go back to your audience. The kidsmediacentre knows the value of research and testing a property to make sure it’s striking the right chord. We have been connected to two kmc research properties and in both cases the content benefited greatly from their in-depth analysis and insight.”
—Pat Ellingson • Former Creative Head, TVOkids
- "Working with Debbie and the kidsmediacentre was an excellent experience. The knowledge base that was brought to the focus testing was exceptional, kmc's rapport and ease when working with children during our testing and the final research report all exceeded our expectations. I would work with the kidsmediacentre again in an instant!"
—Diane Williamson • President, Digital Wizards Inc.
- "The kidsmediacentre's usability study on the Think Big Invention Machine helped us assess the game's difficulty level and whether we had accomplished our goal of communicating core science concepts to the players."
—Dorothy Vreeker • Digital Media Director, Breakthrough Entertainment
- "As producers, we utilized the services of Debbie Gordon and the kidsmediacentre to spearhead focus groups during the development process of one of our pre-school shows. Needless to say, Debbie's research proved invaluable. The results of the study allowed us to better define our market, identify the glitches that needed work, and understand the rapidly changing trends and viewing habits of our target demographic. I could not recommend the kidsmediacentre and its research program more highly."
—Liliana Vogt • Former VP, Development, 9 Story Entertainment
- “My time at the kidsmediacentre has proven invaluable to my success in the children’s entertainment industry. The research I was a part of, and the contacts I made during my time in field, opened so many doors for me. Most notably, my time at the kmc immensely prepared me for my current position at Radical Sheep.
“The work Debbie and team do at the kidsmediacentre makes a difference in our field and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it.”
—Kayla McNally • Radical Sheep Productions
- “I’m so fortunate to have worked with the kidsmediacentre (KMC) as their research assistant on Loopy Logic. I can confidently say that I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience from my time there.
“My supervisor, Debbie Gordon, made sure to include me in every aspect of the process so I could apply and gain new insight on what I learned from my education. I got the opportunity to help prepare an REB submission, coordinate play-test sessions, as well as take part in writing and presenting the final research report and deliverables to our clients. Debbie served as a valuable asset throughout the whole process, answering my questions and providing much appreciated feedback and advice. I look forward to using the skills I’ve sharpened in this position throughout my career, and if given the chance, would be happy to work with the KMC again in the future!”
—Henrika Luong • Children’s Media Graduate, E-One Entertainment
- “The kidsmediacentre at Centennial College was an integral piece in my learning and career path in Children's Entertainment. The opportunity to work with real projects within the industry gave me the chance to meet, network, and gain experience within the field which ultimately led to my current job at Kids' CBC.
“Debbie Gordon presented a variety of projects for students to learn from alongside their studies in Children's Entertainment. These opportunities were fuelled by Debbie's passion and expertise in kids’ media and I am thankful for this extension of learning. It is the perfect match for the Children's Media program.”
—Cheri Sliz • Associate Producer, Kids' CBC Digital