The article ‘Understanding children’s and young adolescents’ media practices: reflections on methodology’ is intended to contribute to current discussions on the perception and construction of child/childhood and the surrounding digital media landscape. In the article, the researcher describes and reflects upon her own experiences with various methods (interviews, diaries, drawings and photos) used when examining children’s and young adolescents’ (in the age range 8-16 years) media practices, focusing on the Internet and computer games. Throughout the text, the claim of having young people’s perspectives as the main point of departure in research is looked at with a critical eye. This key issue is elaborated upon, through examples from research, by discussing three main interrelated aspects - the conditions for young people to have a say in research, ethical aspects and the type of data acquired when the researcher claims to have a children’s or youth perspective.
This article is an overview of my study of children’s online chat with a discussion of later research.The study draws on observation of Norwegian chat rooms and interviews with children and adolescents from 1999 to 2000. A decade ago, the Internet represented a new phenomenon and web chat was typically a many-to-many form of communication. Fundamentally, children who communicated in online communities ten years ago were, as today, co-producers of mediated communities within the framework of contemporary technology – and the surrounding social context. The article questions whether the networked publics today display a broader range of their identities and as such receive responses that are individualised in more detail than ten years ago.
This article studies how digital games are part of the everyday lives of Swedish 6 to 7-year-old boys. The data consist of video recordings from two schools, two after-school centres and four homes. The focus is on how children engage in, organize and use digital games in face-to-face interaction. It is argued that digital game competence matters not only in front of the screen, but also in the playground. In addition, it is argued that what counts as game competence is negotiated in the peer group.
Keywords: Game play, peers, digital competence, young boys, discourse analysis.
The concept of a digital generation has been dominating the public discourse on the role of digital media in young people’s lives. Issues concerning a digital generation is closely linked to questions about how we develop an education system that is able to face the challenges of the 21st Century. A growing field of research, inclined to raise awareness of present and future challenges for our education system, is ‘media/digital literacy’. This article examines research within ‘generation studies’ and public constructions of young people and digital media. Further the article presents some developments within ‘new literacy studies’ and different aspects of ‘competencies for the 21st Century’. Next, the article reflects different approaches to studying these competencies, based on different empirical data, both from my own research and that of colleagues. Towards the end the important question of inclusion and exclusion is raised. The objective is to explore some issues of importance for future development of media literacy, the educational use of digital tools and critical considerations of a digital generation. A key part of the article is the elaboration of five dimensions representing different focus areas of research on school-based studies of media literacy.
The Nordic countries have enjoyed mass use of the Internet at home and in schools since the mid-1990’s. Children have been noted to have rapidly taken the Internet into possession and to have made use of the affordances (Greeno, 1994) of Internet communication. However, media coverage of how children take on, and learn what the Internet has to offer has often been of a negative kind. Blazing headlines portray a generation in bottomless danger where children are defined both as possible victims and perpetrators. Another common attribute of this media coverage is the exoticising of young people’s net cultures – describing the young and their cultures as profoundly different from earlier generations and elevating the “colourful and the bizarre” (Coffey et al., 1999, p. 169) to a level where it appears normal for this particular generation. In this setting safe use guides – tips for parents and children on how to keep safe on the Internet – began to appear. They were often composed by teachers, concerned parents, non-governmental organisations and in some cases governments. The safe use guides were disseminated online in different forums aimed at concerned adults. In this article I will give a brief description of current online safety issues and examine them critically. My earlier research – 104 interviews with 12-year old Swedes conducted in 2004-2005 (Dunkels, 2007) and a study of European safe use guides conducted in 2008 (Lüders et al., 2009) left me with a number of questions. I could see that safe use guides were strikingly similar, despite their origin, and I could see that they rested upon norms and values that were actually neither accounted for nor even declared. This article is a literature review of the area with the aim of critically discussing some of these questions.