SAM Seminar: Children’s digital literacies: a contested space

When:4 Apr 2014, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Robert Webster building, lecture theatre 327
Who:School of the Arts & Media
SAM Seminars 2014 - generic

Lelia Green (ECU)
Keynote for CSAA Intermezzo Symposium

Early writers on children’s digital literacies were swift to identify contested priorities. P. David Marshall, for example, discussed the fact that parents bought computers for their children because of the educational imperatives while children used computers for games and socialising: “The arcade game dimension of the computer shifts its value from information source to entertainment site with a particular [working] class dimension.” (1997, p. 71). The anxieties this dynamic elicited were further exacerbated by the realisation of (in those days) accessible sexual content: “Parents still occupy the role of the initiated with regard to sexuality, [but] if they are uninitiated technologically then they lose the power base from which to set the markers for progressive socialisation.” (1997, p. 68)

Eighteen years later, many of those children now have children of their own but what passes for digital literacy in which circumstances is no less hotly contested. Indeed, more organisations and institutions are involved in the debate. Schools, policy makers, parents and children all have digital literacy agendas.

This presentation takes policy-driven research with children (AU Kids Online) and combines it with analysis of in-depth qualitative interviews to construct the different frames of what passes for digital literacy for whom in which circumstances: and when such digital literacies can be plausibly denied. As one 14-16 year old told me: “I recently got Snapchat and I know what it’s for but […] I only got it to Snapchat friends that I know, but it can be used for something really different.” (Even his friends contested that statement.)

Lelia Green is Professor of Communications at Edith Cowan University, in the School of Communications and Arts, and a co-Chief Investigator with the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. She has been the first Chief Investigator on three ARC Discovery Grants and on four ARC Linkage Grants. Lelia is the author or co-author of over 80 refereed articles, book chapters and conference papers and co-edited Framing technology: society choice and change (1994, Green & Guinery). She is the author of The internet: an introduction to new media (Berg, 2010) and Communication, technology and society (Sage, 2002, also co-published as Technoculture: from alphabet to cybersex, Allen & Unwin, 2002)

Lelia Green


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