Abstract

This article explores the practices of children under 8 years old with a tablet, focusing particularly on the home setting and on learning activities. Previous research has shown that children are being born in digital homes and coming into contact with digital media at increasingly younger ages. Also, the tablet is young children’s favourite device. Our approach is qualitative, using interviews with families, articulated with activities suitable for children of this age range, and also participant observation. Our results show that the tablet is the children’s favourite, due to the variety of activities it facilitates and also its portability, and children frequently have their own personal device. Their preferred activities are games, usually related to cartoon characters or toys that they already like, and these are significantly gendered. Children reveal developed digital skills, about which parents are frequently unaware. Both for parents and children, the tablet is regarded as a “toy”, and thus its pedagogical potential is under-explored. However, children learn other types of skills, such as problem solving, and independence. Most parents believe that children are not yet, at such a young age, exposed to many online dangers, mostly because they do not interact in social networks. Hence, parents monitor time of use, but not content. Yet children are actually exposed to risks, mostly on YouTube.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Digital Literacy and Multimodal Practices of Young Children: Engaging with Emergent Research. Proceedings of the first Training School of COST Action IS1410, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, 6th - 8th June, 2016, Braga
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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