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Annual Child Science Conference 2004

The First Conference of the Japan Society of Children
Date: Sept. 4 (Sat) to 5 (Sun), 2004
Location: Waseda University

The First Annual Conference of the Japanese Society of Child Science was held on the theme of "Media Society and Children." Although the media is indispensable to our society today, medical science has reported that long-term media exposure can have a detrimental effect on the language development and social skills of children. Violence and cruelty shown on TV, video, and in video games are suspected of having a harmful effect on children, and debates continue on whether to give priority to the education of young people or to freedom of visual expression. Specialists from diverse fields discussed whether these problems could be scientifically attributed to TV and media exposure, and professionals working in media production also contributed their views. This made the conference a valuable occasion to think about our media society and children.

Lively discussion ensued on the media society and children. One symposium debated the pros and cons of media exposure by infants and the other entitled, "Thinking about the Future of Children and the Media," included game and anime creators. In the Special Lecture entitled "Wild Gorillas and Wild Children" Professor Juichi Yamagiwa, Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, compared gorilla children and human children based on play, sociality, weaning practices, etc., and provided many fascinating insights into children from the perspective of anthropology.

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