Supervised Play

Intimate Surveillance and Children’s Mobile Media Usage

Authored by: William Balmford , Larissa Hjorth , Ingrid Richardson

The Routledge Companion to Digital Media and Children

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138544345
eBook ISBN: 9781351004107
Adobe ISBN:


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Childhood increasingly interweaves mobile devices with playful scenarios of use. This chapter explores scenarios of use concerning the play practices of children on mobile devices, and the subsequent monitoring strategies employed by their parents. Ethnographic data from the Games of Being Mobile (GoBM) research project, a nationwide study of Australian mobile gaming practices, reveals ways in which parents monitor and limit mobile media play. Interrelations between parental intent, mobile device affordances, and children’s usage generate new and interesting monitoring strategies that are described as modes of ‘friendly’ or ‘careful’ surveillance.

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