Childhood in the Network Society: Bridging Communication and Childhood Studies

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Tiago LAPA, ISCTE-IUL Avenida das Forças Armadas, Lisboa – Portugal, VAT Nº PT 501510184, Portugal
This work argues that communication studies and the analysis of domestication modalities of media by children became central to understand the reconfigurations in children's frames of existence. If the link between the institutional frames of childhood and macro-social phenomena identified by the theories of late modernity continue to have a central relevance (Allison, Jenks and Prout, 1998), today as twenty years ago, it seems, however, that in this temporal gap other processes occurred or deepened, particularly at the communicational level, indicating transformative conditions of those frames. It is proposed the conceptual notion of the emergence of a networked childhood that, on the one hand, departures from essentialist proposals around the digital nativity of children, but on the other hand, recognizes that frames of social life of children changed with the development of a networked communication model, which brought innovations in the modalities of mediation and action. The notion of networked childhood refers to a shift in the structure of relevance (Thompson, 1995) between the lived experience and the types of mediated experience and the continuum established between these two types of experience – variable according to children's placement in social space -, and to the spatio-temporal changes of childhood contexts. The notion also intends to indicate a procedural logic of social action, that is, children are not simply networked in their play and interaction with others. They act daily on a network logic by connecting or disconnection peer or family networks and different media and technological realities. For instance, it is argued that children’s domestication of new media defies established notions of public and private and the concept of literacy and expertise, which brings challenges in terms of public policy and domestic mediation and informs contemporary processes of social construction of childhood and of children's rights and duties.