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Young people, digital cultures and everyday life Victoria Carrington University of East Anglia.

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Presentation on theme: "Young people, digital cultures and everyday life Victoria Carrington University of East Anglia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Young people, digital cultures and everyday life Victoria Carrington University of East Anglia

2 Everyday? internet access 2010

3 Everyday? Internet ✤ Countries are beginning to declare internet access a legal right for citizens (including Spain, Finland and Estonia) ✤ 71% of population in developed countries are online; 21% of developing countries are online (Africa 9.6% online) = end of 2010, 2 billion online (doubled in 5 years; up 600m from 2009) ✤ home internet access worldwide 1.4 (2009) to 1.6billion (2010); hundreds of thousands of cybercafes around the world ✤ Note: 256 kpbs = 34 hours movie download; 4 hours@ 2 Mbps; 10 hours @ 10 Mbps; 5 mins @ 100 Mbps. Broadband costs 6 times as much/month in a developing country Source: International Telecommunications Union (ITU) (The world in 2010); AT&T


5 Everyday? mobile phone access 2010

6 Mobile phones ✤ 90% of world now has access to mobile networks (and 80% of rural populations); 76% worldwide coverage: saturation in developed world; 68% in developing world; 41% in Africa ✤ 5.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide; 940 million subscriptions to 3G; 200,000 text messages are sent every second ✤ rapid shift from 2G to 3G worldwide. Data downloads have risen 5000% in the US alone over 3 years.

7 Young people ✤ Globally, 200 million 5-19 year olds with internet access. ✤ UK, US, Aust, Canada have a combined 136 million 5-14 year olds with internet access 91% of 12 year olds in the UK have a mobile phone 51% of 10 year olds in the UK have a mobile phone

8 so not hot... ✤ MSN ✤ MySpace (just relaunched in beta as Myspace, entertainment hub) ✤ Bebo (but missed by many) ✤ Flickr ✤ Yahoo ✤ SecondLife ✤ ‘hereiamworld’ blogs ✤ non-3G mobile phones ✤ time-locked television Fading: Desktops - now Laptops - soon

9 hot... ✤ Facebook ✤ YouTube channels ✤ Skype ✤ Virtual worlds (for kids, but not SL) ✤ Online shopping ✤ P2P ✤ time-shifted programming ✤ iPods/iPads/iPhones – mobile, small technologies ✤ 3G everything (no internet, no point)

10 about to be hot... ✤ Augmented reality ✤ Geocaching ✤ foursquare ✤ SCVNGR... via 3G phone and data

11 ✤ Visual overlay ✤ Streetmuseum (Museum of London) ✤ London tube (Transport London) ✤ Get London Reading (Booktrust)

12 2010 xmas list ✤ Who wants an iPod touch/iPhone/iPad for xmas? ✤ 17% of 5-8 years olds ✤ 50% of 9-12 year olds ✤ 66% of 13-18 year olds The top 10 toys for Christmas 2010: 1 iPhone 4 (14%) 2 iPod touch (13%) 3 iPad (12%) 4 Kinect for Xbox (6%) 5 Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters (5%) 6 Flip Video Camera (4%) 7 Toy Story 3 Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear (4%) 8 PlayStation Move (4%) 9 LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 Video Game (3%) 10 Barbie Video Girl (3%) Duracell Toy Report 2010 (UK based survey of 2010)

13 How should we frame these shifts?

14 The ‘digital natives’ argument ✤ Digital natives (Marc Prensky) ✤ Net generation (Don Tapscott) ✤ Generation M(edia) ✤ Gamer generation

15 ✤ Digital natives (Marc Prensky) ✤ Net generation (Don Tapscott) ✤ Generation M(edia) ✤ Gamer generation ✤ essentialist notion of adolescence ✤ overlays generational identity with technological competence ✤ either/or ✤ assumes digital practices displace others ✤ ignores issues of diversity ✤ but.. a counter to the ‘risk’ arguments

16 The risk factor ✤ video games and social isolation/violence/attention deficit ✤ mobile phones and texting(declining spelling, sexting)/videoing (bullying, sexual harassment, happy slapping), phone bills, enlarged thumbs ✤ internet and sexual predators/pornography/plagiaris m/credit card fraud/virtual lives...

17 More interestingly... ✤ The evidence around young people’s engagements with digital media and culture shows that: ✤ (i) engagement and learning moments are generally outside formal education; ✤ (ii) the shape and outcomes of peer-based communication differs from older generations in terms of expertise and peer networks/learning ✤ self directed learning, peer to peer, rapid development of specialist skills in particular areas (access to networks of expertise), just in time learning (use of online tutorials, peer contacts), use of peer group and expert adults in reciprocal learning environments

18 Youth literacies online ✤ shared norms about representation (e.g. profile pages) & displaying peer networks ✤ new genres of written communication (e.g. profiles, fansubs, co-constructed public texts, web comics, interactive videos) ✤ elite vocabularies associated with fandom and gaming ✤ building websites, hyperlinking, creating and uploading videos, information searching, locating and using cheat sheets, appropriate engagement in online chats ✤ amateur media production and distribution

19 ✤ a way to look at all of this stuff without the essentialist and simplistic sound bites about adolescents... while recognizing that there is both change and continuity... and attending to literacy practices as a central interest

20 Newer framings ✤ Peter Paul Verbeek (2005) What things do (artifacts actively co- construct the world) ✤ Daniel Miller (2010) Stuff (digital communication is material culture and draws its value&meaning from praxis) ✤ Tim Ingold (2010) Lines: A brief history (traces - lines on a surface; and threads - lines in a medium) ✤ Mimi Ito et al (2010). Hanging out, messing around and geeking out (ethnographic case studies of kids online)

21 Communicative ecology



24 Formal education global networked public, issues of representation, information control pedagogies of consumption, gendered literacies, literacy-lite


26 facebook...a timeline Source: Mark Zuckerberg = $US6.9billion; Facebook = $US35billion (Source: Forbes)

27 Australia 9, 306,520 Source:

28 facebook ✤ “Privacy is no longer a social norm” (Zuckerberg 2009) Nissenbaum (2010) has identified three types of privacy issues associated with the rise of social networking: ✤ Individuals posting information about themselves that they later regret, for example, embarrassing photos that are seen by colleges or prospective employers; ✤ The posting of content onto other people’s social networking sites, including personal information about self or others; ✤ The capacity of new technologies to monitor, track, store and aggregate information for a range of purposes either unknown or unintended by an individual. ✤ ‘spheres of justice’ and ‘information injustice’ - attaches information to spheres (medical, financial, family). Injustice occurs when information flows unexpectedly from one sphere to another

29 Virtual worlds Revenue generation: Microtransactions $1b 2008; $17.3b by 2015 Subscriptions, Advertising, sponsorships

30 BarbieGirls Launched in beta in April 2007 Attracted 1 million registrations in first 28 days More than 15 million registered users 85% identify as girls 8- 15years Began with toy; quickly moved to subscription

31 Pedagogies of consumption ✤ To furnish bedroom and buy fashion & accessories, need Barbie Bucks. The more BB, the more options for styling and restyling self and space ✤ Purchase and display is constructed as pleasurable leisure activity (and is linked directly to identity and taste). Most activities are linked to consumption; shopping is major recreational activity ✤ VIP subscription required to access all but the most basic of items ✤ VIP access requires Credit Card transaction (ergo parental buy-in) Independent participants in the economic cycle of BG Consumption and display linked to popularity and success in-world BG makes available a shared social context that inculcates a strongly delineated set of practices and tastes linked to consumption and display of consumer goods that are, in turn, associated with highly gendered constructions of femininity. In Bourdieuian terms a global, gendered consumer habitus (1992) is being formed. In this sense the site is explicitly structured and highly pedagogic.

32 Textual landscapes in BarbieGirls Safety & consumer information Instructions Bot interactions Store signage Price labels Advertising billboards (animated & static) Pop up menus Navigation lists Internal email messages & chat Word search games videos & advertising footage Range of genres Range of levels...but... Predominantly low level demand Highly gendered Text production is monitored

33 ✤ Culturally significant social spaces and activities for young people ✤ Opportunities for new social spaces, interactions, customization, opportunities to engage with a variety of texts, informal/peer learning, aesthetically pleasing & entertaining BarbieGirls: limited models of girlhood; gendered consumption; conflation of play, identity & consumption; in- world texts and textual practices that reinforce these messages Literacy-lite

34 what’s my point? ✤ Digital cultures are global & pervasive ✤ New theoretical and empirical work evidences that there is a change in kids ✤ how you articulate this change can range from new communicative practices to new ‘worlds’ and ‘being’ Useful model: material communicative ecologies ✤ avoids essentialist notions of adolescence ✤ avoids risk/native polemic ✤ attends to the complex connections between praxis, identity and multiple forms of communication ✤ There is a key place for education in these ecologies: ✤ building initial peer networks; start up projects, predicting skill sets and back-filling, supporting P2P learning; ensuring a multimodal view of communicative skill sets; being explicit about the print traditional of schooling ✤ working towards the bigger issues around ethical engagement, analytical and critical practices, good citizenship on/offline. ✤ Allows recognition of the communicative ecology in which school, new media technologies and kids are located.

35 Thank you

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