Title: Learning versus play or learning through play? How parents’ imaginaries, discourses and practices around ICTs shape children’s (digital) literacy practices
Publisher: Edizioni Centro Studi Erickson
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC102261
ISSN: 2038-3002
URI: http://riviste.erickson.it/med/it/2016/learning-versus-play-or-learning-through-play-how-parents-imaginaries-discourses-and-practices-around-icts-shape-childrens-digital-literacy-practices/
DOI: 10.14605/MED721606
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: As children access to the internet at ever younger ages, questions arise as to whether the use of touchscreens at home contributes to literacy and digital skills, and whether and how parents scaffold children’s learning. To date, research on parental mediation has shown that parental expectations of the role of ICTs in their children’s future, discourses of the opportunities and risks of the internet, and the everyday practices of media engagement all shape the ways in which children are socialised into using digital media at home. These expectations, worries and practices depend on parents’ education, socioeconomic background, and parenting culture. This article builds on prior research by the authors with 70 families in seven European countries. We compare lower income/less educated families and higher income/more educated families as they promote or hinder children’s (digital) literacy practices. We found that lower income families experience a generational digital divide and feel less confident in scaffolding children’s digital literacy practices. Instead, when parents use ICTs for work and/or are techno-enthusiasts, they are more engaged in children’s online activities irrespective of their background. The approach towards digital play - as either a vehicle or an impediment to children’s learning – is therefore indicative of different imaginaries around ICTs, different parenting styles and different mediation strategies.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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