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Communication Begins with Children

A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook


Edited By Thomas J. Socha and Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter

Communication Begins with Children: A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook seeks to transform the field of communication, arguing that the field must stop neglecting and segregating children and instead adopt an age-inclusive lifespan approach that fully includes and fully considers children in all communication theorizing, research, and education from infancy and throughout the human lifespan. One-size-fits-all, adult-centric communication theorizing, researching, and educating is inadequate and harms the communication field’s potential as a social force for positive change for all communicators. The volume contains four sections (Foundations, Relational Communication Development, Digital Communication Development, and Navigating Developmental Communication Challenges) that showcase state-of-the-art chapters about the history of children’s relational and digital communication studies, methods used to study children’s communication, media literacy development, communication and children’s health, and much more. A must read for all communication researchers, educators, and students and an important addition to advanced and graduate level human and digital communication courses.

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1. Comprehensive Communication Development during Childhood: First Steps in Positive Lifespan Communication: THOMAS J. SOCHA, NARISSRA M. PUNYANUNT-CARTER


First Steps in Positive Lifespan Communication


Old Dominion University


Texas Tech University

Children around the world are quarantined in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. As of July 8, 2020, Covid-19 infected 11,662,574 people and ended the lives of 539,057 others (Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center, 2020). Proportionately, the elderly and African Americans are bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 virus, but children have not been immune including enduring the stressors of quarantine and more (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). As the world has turned to connecting online and socially-distancing, we must also look to the horizon to a future time when our everyday communication lives will resurge, albeit in a new key. We must use this time productively to pause and take stock of our core values and beliefs, especially those related to the world’s children and their futures. What are our hopes and beliefs for the world’s children?

First, we believe that all the world’s children should live long lives. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) (2018a), the world’s average life expectancy at the time of birth is age-72. Life expectancy in the US is age-78 and by comparison in South Africa it is age-63 and in Chad it is age-54 (WHO, 2018a). Living a long life is dependent on myriad factors: communicative, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, familial, genetic, geographic, medical,...

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