Young children's digital game culture in everyday life: an ethnographic case study

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This dissertation examines how young children engage with digital games at home and how parents think and talk about their children's digital gaming. This is an ethnographic case study of

This dissertation examines how young children engage with digital games at home and how parents think and talk about their children's digital gaming. This is an ethnographic case study of the digital game playing of six three-year-old children in six families. This study combines ethnographic methods and critical perspectives to construct analyses that have the potential to rethink young children's digital game play. The focus of this study is on understanding how digital gaming functions in children's everyday lives. This study shows that young children's digital game play takes place in the interstices of their everyday family life. Digital games do not entirely change or displace other practices in early childhood, but they are integrated into existing young children's everyday practices in their family life. Digital games as a source of young children's imagination enrich young children's play rather than substitute for young children's spontaneous non-digital play. Young children and their parents tactically use young children's mobile game play to cope with their modern life. Negotiating over game selections, time, and space between young children and their parents is an everyday practice of families and digital games are a site not only for family power struggles but also of shared activity. Digital games reflect the dominant culture in which they are produced. However, this study shows that young children do not passively receive the messages in the games but rather make sense of the game contents according to their everyday local experiences. Digital games are now a part of everyday practices for both adults and young children, and young children's digital game play reflects contemporary society.