'It's only as stupid as you are': children's and adults' negotiation of ICT competence at home and at school

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Contemporary discourses about children's use of information and communication technologies (ICT)—which both celebrate children's command of a technology which is seen to be our future, and raise fears that this technology is putting children's emotional well-being at risk—are problematic, resting as they do on essentialist ideas about children, and overt technological determinism. Drawing instead on work within the new social studies of childhood, and the sociology of science and technology, we identify a need for research which examines how children and technology come together in diverse communities of practice. The communities of practice we study are the home- and school-based ICT usage of British school children in the late 1990s. Our research identifies the different ways in which children and adults negotiate children's technical and emotional competence in relation to ICT, and uncovers the varied meanings of childhood and technology which emerge for adults and children in these two socio-spatial environments. These findings not only highlight the spatiality of children's and adults' performances and understandings of ICT competence, but also how these are constituted through the socio-spatial relations which shape the off-line spaces of home and school.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649360020028258

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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