Literacy Studies and Situated Methods

Exploring the social organization of household activity and family media use

Authored by: Lisa H. Schwartz , Kris D. Gutiérrez

The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415816243
eBook ISBN: 9781315717647
Adobe ISBN: 9781317510611


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There are various approaches to studying the new media practices of youth. Research on new media and learning has often examined online or in-world interactions and the influence of peer and popular culture on youths’ new media repertoires (Black 2008; boyd 2008; Ito et al. 2008). Less research has focused on families’ everyday practices and the ways families organize and leverage their resources to create environments for game play. In this chapter, we examine how children’s interest-based, collaborative, and new media practices emerge from the social organization of the household. We draw on a theory of connected learning (Ito et al. 2013) – a process that places practices that are socially connected, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational and economic opportunity as the object of learning – to examine the everyday lives and new media practices of Latino and low-income families. Specifically, in this study we were interested in documenting how the social organization of households helps to shape families’ media use. In this chapter, we focus on the ways mothers’ smart phones and home practices influence children’s game play. Following Takeuchi and Stevens (2011), we focus on ‘joint media engagement’ or the in-room practices of youth using digital media and the roles that parents play in shaping youths’ media practices; practices, we argue, that have important implications for developing children’s new literacies in multiple contexts.

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