Kids Closer Up: Playing, Learning, and Growing with Digital Media


While large-scale surveys have documented the types of media to which 5–9-year-olds are devoting increasing amounts of time, we know less about how and why they are using these media and what they might be learning as a result. This research provides rich details on the processes, relationships, and contexts that larger-scale studies on children’s media use cannot by examining two 8-year-old girls’ engagement with video games, the Web, mobile devices, and other emerging technologies against the backdrop of family life. What roles are parents and others playing in their digital media experiences? And how is their engagement with digital media related to family values, relationships with peers and siblings, and what they are doing at school? Ethnographic methods and ecological perspectives on learning were used to craft these portraits. The case studies illustrate how young children’s access to and interest in technology are shaped by cultural, institutional, interpersonal, and developmental forces and, in turn, how access and interest shape individual learning. Findings build upon other fine-grained studies of young children’s digital media use and learning, bringing to bear the particularities of the era, locale, and culture of the two individuals I studied to refine our collective and ever-evolving portrait of the 21st-century child.

This work is featured in the International Journal of Learning and Media in Volume 3::Issue 2

Lori Takeuchi

Published under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license

Publication Date
Thursday, January 26, 2012