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Special Issue of the Journal – Media Education: Studi, Ricerche, Buone Pratiche

Posted on March 10 2016 in Action News

Young Children, Touchscreens and Literacy Practices

Most research recently developed in Europe has shown that younger children (0-to-8-year-olds) grow up in media-rich homes and (pre)school contexts. Among this age group, access to digital media mainly happens through touchscreen devices, such as tablets and smartphones, which can be used in a more intuitive way than a PC, before the child learns to read and write, thus allowing highly individualized internet access. Since the first years of life, drivers for internet use are favourite kids’ TV content and games. By using touchscreens, young children engage in emergent literacy practices (that is, knowledge of reading and writing skills), develop digital skills, and are socialised to online communication and entertainment. Both the family (parents and siblings) and the (pre)school context (teachers and peers) can scaffold younger children’s emergent literacy and digital literacy. As a consequence of being embedded into everyday life activities, digital literacy is more and more a matter of informal, instead of formal, learning. On the other side, however, digital media use at a very young age poses a number of concerns, from the commodification of childhood, to the exposure to inappropriate content.

We invite theoretical, methodological, and/or empirical/practitioner contributions that address the following topics:

The issue aims to investigate all the above mentioned topics, focusing on the digital literacy of young children (0-to-8-year-olds) in the everyday life contexts -home and (pre)school- which are increasingly saturated with touchscreen mobile devices. Different theoretical and methodological approaches are welcome, as well as examples of best practices, policy implications and recommendations.

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