CONNECTED CREATIONS AND
WI-FI ENABLED IMAGINATIONS
The emerging challenges and opportunities of digital 

play technologie...
GAPS INTHE RESEARCH
Younger children (under 9 years of age) have traditionally
been an understudied user group within acad...
TECHNOLOGIZATION OF
CHILDHOOD
• McClure et al. (2015) found that most infants
(85%) aged 6-to-24months had used video chat...
MAJOR REVISIONTO AAP
GUIDELINES
“Today's generation of children
and adolescents is growing up
immersed in media.This inclu...
The “Massification" of Kids’ DIY Media
• Children’s Do-It-Yourself Media
(“Kids DIY Media”) Partnership.
Cross-sector, Cana...
KITTENS INSPIRED BY KITTENS BY BLAKEKELLY0
CULTURE/INFRASTRUCTURE
Designed, regulated (at times unregulated), monitored and
monetized by adults, predominantly for ad...
SOCIAL WORLD OF
CHILDREN
• The “social world of children” is
always dependent on and
embedded within the world(s) of
adult...
©Terry Madly 2013 “Tom in Minecraft”
THE CREEPYTREEHOUSE
DIY MEDIA FORTHE 

“APP GENERATION”
• 2013-present: Increase in DIY and
UGC websites, toys and
technologies targeted to yo...
DEFAULT DATA FLOWS
or: How did these drawings get onto my laptop?
AFTER-THE-FACT “REGULATION”
Number of US cases where app producer found liable for sneaky in-
app purchases made by kids, ...
MATERIALITY OF DIGITAL
ARTIFACTS
Just as it’s important to
understand the experiential,
embodied dimension of kids’
digita...
INFRASTRUCTURES OF
VIRTUAL PLAY SPACES
Just as it’s crucial that we
recognize children’s agency, pay
attention to their un...
MOVING FORWARD
EXTENDING “FAMILY” DYNAMICS
The spread of connected technologies in children’s lives, and in the
domestic sphere generally...
DESIGN IS POLITICAL
Some design affordances can be
bypassed, subverted or ignored,
while others can’t (at least, not
easil...
CHILDREN’S “PLAYBOUR”
Creating and sharing content can be seen as a form of cultural
production. How are children’s rights...
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS BEYOND PRIVACY
Current regulatory frameworks focus on children’s privacy, but there
are other issues inv...
UNEVEN PLAYING FIELDS
Corporations claim disproportionate rights over contents,
privilege and police commercial materials,...
THANKYOU
sara.grimes@utoronto.ca
@smgrimes
http://kidsdiymedia.com
Connected Creations and Wi-Fi Enabled Imaginations: The emerging challenges and opportunities of digital play technologies...
Connected Creations and Wi-Fi Enabled Imaginations: The emerging challenges and opportunities of digital play technologies...
Connected Creations and Wi-Fi Enabled Imaginations: The emerging challenges and opportunities of digital play technologies...
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Connected Creations and Wi-Fi Enabled Imaginations: The emerging challenges and opportunities of digital play technologies for young children

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2016 COST Action/DigiLitEY Annual Meeting Keynote Presentation
November 7, 2016, Prague, Czech Republic
Sara M. Grimes, PhD
Associate Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

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Connected Creations and Wi-Fi Enabled Imaginations: The emerging challenges and opportunities of digital play technologies for young children

  1. 1. CONNECTED CREATIONS AND WI-FI ENABLED IMAGINATIONS The emerging challenges and opportunities of digital 
 play technologies for young children Sara M. Grimes, PhD Faculty of Information, University ofToronto November 7, 2016 DigiLitEY Project Meeting 4, Prague
  2. 2. GAPS INTHE RESEARCH Younger children (under 9 years of age) have traditionally been an understudied user group within academic and non- academic research on digital, connected technologies.
  3. 3. TECHNOLOGIZATION OF CHILDHOOD • McClure et al. (2015) found that most infants (85%) aged 6-to-24months had used video chat. 37% used it at least once a week. • A study conducted at Northwestern University in 2012 of US children aged 0-to-8 years found: 43% used computers, 32% used videogame consoles, 26% used tablets (iPads, etc.) • When asked “How often does your child watch more than one screen at the same time,” UK parents of 0-to-5 year olds replied: 7% “All the Time”; 18% “Often”; 26% “Occasionally” (BBC, University of Sheffield, et al., 2016). • In Canada, most kindergarten teachers are supplied with networked desktop computers (71%) and tablets (71%) to use with 5-year-old students (MediaSmarts/CFT, 2016).
  4. 4. MAJOR REVISIONTO AAP GUIDELINES “Today's generation of children and adolescents is growing up immersed in media.This includes platforms that allow users to both consume and create content, including broadcast and streamed television and movies, sedentary and active video games, social and interactive media that can be creative and engaging, and even highly immersive virtual reality.” (AAP, 2016)
  5. 5. The “Massification" of Kids’ DIY Media • Children’s Do-It-Yourself Media (“Kids DIY Media”) Partnership. Cross-sector, Canada/US. • Examine, map and understand the rise of DIY media opportunities for children in online/connected contexts. • Collaborate on recommendations for designers, policymakers, parents, teachers and children for supporting ethical, grounded, child-centred approaches to opps/challenges of kids DIY media.
  6. 6. KITTENS INSPIRED BY KITTENS BY BLAKEKELLY0
  7. 7. CULTURE/INFRASTRUCTURE Designed, regulated (at times unregulated), monitored and monetized by adults, predominantly for adults. ©2013 World internet map.The Opte Project/Wired
  8. 8. SOCIAL WORLD OF CHILDREN • The “social world of children” is always dependent on and embedded within the world(s) of adults. But, importantly, it is also separate. (James, 2001) • “The true nature of the culture of childhood frequently remains hidden from adults, for the semantic cues which permit social recognition have been manipulated and disguised by children in terms of their alternative society” (James, p.74).
  9. 9. ©Terry Madly 2013 “Tom in Minecraft”
  10. 10. THE CREEPYTREEHOUSE
  11. 11. DIY MEDIA FORTHE 
 “APP GENERATION” • 2013-present: Increase in DIY and UGC websites, toys and technologies targeted to younger children (3-5yrs), but esp. apps. • Trend toward sharing, posting, collaborative features (esp. semi- private). Some of these features are “on” by default. • Lack of regulation/enforcement around children’s data (privacy), in- app purchases, content ownership.
  12. 12. DEFAULT DATA FLOWS or: How did these drawings get onto my laptop?
  13. 13. AFTER-THE-FACT “REGULATION” Number of US cases where app producer found liable for sneaky in- app purchases made by kids, in “free” games, without parental consent. From SmurfVillage to Kindle games.
  14. 14. MATERIALITY OF DIGITAL ARTIFACTS Just as it’s important to understand the experiential, embodied dimension of kids’ digital lifeworlds, it’s equally crucial to remember that the tools, artifacts, spaces, systems they are using are made, managed and monitored by adults.
  15. 15. INFRASTRUCTURES OF VIRTUAL PLAY SPACES Just as it’s crucial that we recognize children’s agency, pay attention to their unanticipated uses of technologies, and appreciate their subversive cultural appropriation, we must consider who is determining the rules of play…based on what interests, and why. (e.g. Terms of Service, the great privacy/safety “switcheroo”).
  16. 16. MOVING FORWARD
  17. 17. EXTENDING “FAMILY” DYNAMICS The spread of connected technologies in children’s lives, and in the domestic sphere generally, has wide-ranging and complex implications. They involve a range of known and “invisible” actors, not traditionally seen as members of the household—including market researchers, government agencies, data brokers, designers, brand managers, etc. How does their insertion challenge traditional notions of home, family, private life?
  18. 18. DESIGN IS POLITICAL Some design affordances can be bypassed, subverted or ignored, while others can’t (at least, not easily). But this doesn’t make design neutral—it is social constructed, and it reflects and reproduces the assumptions, biases, intentions of its designers (technical code). Design always warrants critical analysis. Limited and restrictive design affordances should be questioned.
  19. 19. CHILDREN’S “PLAYBOUR” Creating and sharing content can be seen as a form of cultural production. How are children’s rights and interests being represented within the emerging labour systems of web 2.0 (DIY/UGC)? @ Jeff Weiss forTubefilter, 9/08/2016
  20. 20. CHILDREN’S RIGHTS BEYOND PRIVACY Current regulatory frameworks focus on children’s privacy, but there are other issues involved: authorship, reputation/identity, consent, etc.. In some cases, this focus can be detrimental for other potential rights, including authorship/ownership over intellectual property.
  21. 21. UNEVEN PLAYING FIELDS Corporations claim disproportionate rights over contents, privilege and police commercial materials, subtly afford and reward desired consumer behaviours
  22. 22. THANKYOU sara.grimes@utoronto.ca @smgrimes http://kidsdiymedia.com

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