Navigating the Fast-Forward Effect in Childhood with Laura Jolly Yan

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The window of childhood is getting shorter.  

Childhood has become heavily intertwined with the seriousness of the modern day leading to a widespread yearning to bring awe, wonder and even weirdness back into children’s worlds.

What does the fast-forward effect mean for children’s media and entertainment? 

At the Children’s Media Conference 2024 we will explore kid-centric content that will challenge the ‘fast-forward effect’ and bring a new age of storytelling. This gathering of professionals working in children’s media and entertainment will take place from Tuesday 9th to Wednesday 11th of July at the Showroom Workstation in Sheffield. 

We’ve interviewed our Head of Consultancy Laura Jolly Yan to provide insights into what attendees can anticipate from her presentation.  

Fast-Forward Effect in Childhood
Laura Jolly Yan, Head of Consultancy, TrendBible

What are some of today’s challenges and opportunities within children’s media? 

The landscape of entertainment has undergone and will continue to undergo a seismic shift. The way in which younger generations are consuming entertainment and media is continuously evolving. With advancements in AI, customisation, and personalisation, there lies an opportunity to redefine the boundaries of creativity and engagement. 

Regarding content and storytelling, it is becoming ever more important to find a true and authentic voice to connect with children, parents and caregivers. Allowing yourself to do something bold amongst a risk-averse market will cut through and become something they can truly relate to. 

Tell us what you will be speaking about in your live session at The Children’s Media Conference.  

The theme focuses on ‘kid-centric’ content that pushes wonder, awe and weirdness, aiming to counteract the ‘fast-forward effect’ which is shortening childhood. We are aware that the window of childhood is getting shorter, caused by a combination of financial worry, the increasingly early onset of puberty, unlimited access to social media and now the adoption of AI. This ‘fast-forward effect’ is challenging parents and caregivers to prepare their children for adulthood sooner.  

What can we do about the fast-forward effect? What storytelling tools do we need to implore to negate this?  

I will be exploring and demonstrating how to equip the entertainment and media community to push storytelling towards amplifying experimental and unique experiences for their audiences. Throughout my hypothesis, I will identify and challenge new archetypes spearheading children’s media and entertainment with actionable thought starters on how to experiment with new and relevant kid-centric narratives. 

Why is this topic important for the children’s media community? 

While we see many tensions at play around the world, what unites us is a deep pining for fun and escapism. Grounding this is the permeation of a kid-centric mindset and a demand for narratives that appeal to the inner child and the contradictory nature of life. This need will propel the importance of themes around playfulness, humour, even absurdity and exploration in children’s media. 

This is your first time attending the Children’s Media Conference. What are you most looking forward to? 

It is such an exciting opportunity to mix with delegates from across the whole industry. I have been scoping out the diverse range of creative keynotes and speakers so when I am not on stage myself, I will be making sure to catch as much of the programme as possible.  

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at TrendBible. 

I head up the consultancy team at TrendBible, which means I am responsible for building strong client relationships and tailoring bespoke trends that sit in line with our client’s strategic goals. I am a passionate problem solver, driven to make better informed decisions for the future.  

I am also a mother of two young children which fuels a deeper interest in the development of children’s products and narratives. To further that, I feel that there is such a strong opportunity for multi-generational audience engagement. Navigating how to capture the imagination of the whole family, whatever that dynamic might be, is something I would love to see more of in the future of entertainment. 

What’s the most exciting part of your job?  

My role and client base are both geographically and industry diverse which is what ultimately drives me. Pinpointing client pain points and turning them into commercial solutions is a key part of my role and an aspect I find extremely rewarding. I also get to collaborate with an incredibly talented group of individuals across my network, for which I am both inspired and grateful.  

See you at the Children’s Media Conference in July! 

You can attend Laura’s presentation on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th July in the Showroom Workstation in Sheffield. For more information on the full conference programme and to register, visit The Children’s Media Conference. 

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