About Child Science
Thoughts on Child Science
Children are at risk, whenever and wherever. Unless parents and all adults join together in gentle child-raising, child care, and education, children at risk will not grow up physically and emotionally healthy. This is clear when we consider the issues that children have faced in both developing and developed countries. Unfortunately, these issues still exist. And in many cases, the causes of risk are multiple. Despite the long history of research in the child-related fields of the natural sciences, humanities and the social sciences, children's issues still remain unresolved. Even today, developmental psychology and education research have yet to fully resolve the emotional and educational issues that are relevant to their respective fields.
To resolve these issues, specialists from each field need to engage in dialogue, and this calls for the idea of Child Science, which is based on the fundamental approach of the human sciences. Child Science is a human science that brings together the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences to consider children from an interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary perspective. Child Research Net (CRN) and the Japanese Society of Child Science were established for the purpose of providing a place for this sort of communication, and I believe they are both playing a role in the exchange of information among experts in the different fields.
Child Science was born amid the social changes that occurred in the shift from the twentieth to the twenty-first century. We experienced a remarkable improvement in the quality of transmitted communication due to the transformation from the vertically oriented society of the twentieth century to one based on horizontal relations in the twenty-first century, from the specialization of the sciences and technology to a comprehensive, integrated approach, and dramatic advances in printing, publishing, broadcasting, communications and the internet, and other technology related to social information. This was the background in which Child Science was conceived.
With the support of Benesse Corporation, CRN was established in 1996 in order to resolve children's issues not only in Japan, but all over the world by bringing researchers and professionals together on the internet. The Japanese Society of Child Science, established in 2003, will hold its Tenth Annual Child Science Conference next year and is also planning an international symposium.
I am happy to note that over 100 universities now have a department and a research institute that uses the word "child" in its name and deals specifically with children's issues.
It is now time for those of us who are concerned about children's issues to deepen out our specialized knowledge and engage in closer dialogue with others in related fields in order for all of us to join in creating better solutions. I hope that CRN and the Japanese Society of Child Science will further contribute and become more active in making the twenty-first century the "Century of the Child."
Noboru Kobayashi, M.D.
Honorary Director, Child Research Net