New Media Research on Kids

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Livingstone, Sonia. “Drawing Conclusions from New Media Research: Reflections and Puzzles Regarding Children’s Experience of the Internet.” The Information Society 22 (2006): 219-30. Web. 1 May 2012.

In 2003 Livingstone did a survey of the literature looking at research of children and the net, finding there was very little—particularly in contrast with research of adults on the web (219).

“The project combined a national, in-home, face-to-face, computer-assisted interview with 1511 children and young people aged 9–19 years, plus a self-completion survey of their parents and a series of focus group and family observations” (220).

Woolgar (2002) rules for looking at activities in virtual society:
“uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context”
“the fears and risks associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed”
“virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities” Which means that virtual technologies, for Woolgar, are not “real.” Yet when I watch a movie online, it is as real as if I watch it from a disk.
“the more virtual, the more real”
“the more global, the more local” (qtd in Livingstone 220)

The findings were, apparently, that the more virtual experiences the child had, the more likely they were to engage in f2f experiences.

access =/= equality of opportunity for learning the new media (Livingstone 220)
amount of access and quality of access widen the gulf between differing SESs (Livingstone 220)

school_research computer martingender differences can be found, usually in what and how often accessed (220)

age is more important (221)
9-11 age “group whose Internet skills are easily overestimated”
12-14 age “experimenting with and expending their use”
15-17 age “express their individuality through their interest in music, social networks, consumer goods, and Internet expertise”
18-19 age “access and use the Internet less and have lower levels of online skills”
“older children and boys still use it more than younger children and girls” (Livingstone 222)
Then what is up with the 18-19 yo comment?

“more knowledge is associated with greater ignorance” (Livingstone 224)
“the more one does online, the more it matters that there are things one does not know” (Livingstone 224)
“the more skills in using the Internet the teenagers have, the more opportunities they take up and also the more risks they are likely to encounter on the internet” (Livingstone 224)

“One consequence of the convenient assumption that young people are already Internet experts is that there is little critical scrutiny of their current online activities” (Livingstone 225).

When examining take up of each of 15 varied opportunities online, findings for 9- to 19-year-olds who use the Internet at least weekly show that 16% of them make only basic informational use of the Internet; a further 29% of them also use the Internet for games and e-mail; yet a further 27% expand their peer-to-peer uses with instant messaging and music downloading; and only the remaining 27% make a broad use of the Internet, taking up such opportunities as completing quizzes, creating websites, voting, contributing to message boards, offering advice, filling in forms, and so on in any significant numbers. (Livingstone 226)

Since Livingstone was part of the original survey, she has thought a lot about this information.

the survey asked about website creation, perhaps the most “active” form of online engagement and certainly one that marks a clear contrast with how it was possible for viewers to engage with television. Overall, 34% of 9- to 19-year-olds who go online at least once a week have tried to set up their own web page—more often boys than girls, and more often older than younger children (though younger children indicate they would like to develop the skills to make a site). Over a third making their own site is in some ways impressive, suggesting a considerable desire to be active and creative content producers as well as receivers. However, on closer examination it turned out that of this group, 34% never got the site online, 17% had put it online but it is no longer online, a further 17% have not updated their site for a long time, 12% are not ever sure if the site is still online, and only 32% have put it online and keep it updated—1 in 10 of the population. Further, 45% of those who made a web site did so for a school project, though 34% did it because they enjoy creative activities. Supporting the concern over young people’s Internet literacy, when those who have not made a web site were asked why not, 54% said they lacked the knowledge to do so, while a further 41% said they were not interested in such a possibility (Livingstone, Bober, & Helsper, 2004). (Livingstone 226)

it_computer 2 students martin
“with research revealing a fascinating range of ways in which young people are engaging creatively with diverse online opportunities (e.g., Fornas, Klein, Ladendorf, Sun- den, & Svenigsson, 2002; Mazzarella, 2005)” (Livingstone 227).

Increasingly, learning, work, citizenship, and community participation are conducted within the home through the medium of the computer, the Internet, and mobile tele- phony. Crucially, today’s new media span, or blur, key social boundaries: work/leisure, home/community, pri- vate/public, education/entertainment, commercial/civic, interpersonal/technologically mediated communication, personal/political, local/global, and many more. (Livingstone 227)


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