iPlay no more? Has childhood play been changed by technology?

I recently ran across this interesting study, Children’s Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age (PDF). Honestly, I don’t remember where or how it came up, but it was one of those things that I had no idea people even studied formally, but once reading it, seemed impossible not to want to know more.

It’s a wonderful antidote to some of the silly pronouncements of late that childhood is “toxic”, that children have no capacity for real play anymore, and of couse pointing to technology as the ogre in this sad myth.

However, this study disputes those claims.

“Needless  to  say,  serious  research  in  this  field  has  usually  discovered  the  opposite.  Our  own project, found  that  play  was  alive  and  well,  more  diverse  in  some  respects  than  ever,  and  drawing  on resources  which  had  both  a  long  historical  lineage  as  well  as  ones  from  contemporary  media cultures.”

This is really a fascinating study, with a website with digital recordings, ethnographic studies, collections of the games, a documentary film,  and interestingly, a panel of youth who provided input and commentary on the study.

Hope you read it!


5 Replies to “iPlay no more? Has childhood play been changed by technology?”

  1. Hi Sylvia,

    I just noticed this post via Audrey Watter’s article on MindShift. If you’re interested in learning more about Jackie Marsh’s work (a main co-author of this paper), and related research of various “literacies” of play, gaming and ever-evolving digital related literacies, there’s a research thread I’ve been compiling on Storify. http://storify.com/ianchia/literacy-20-examples

    Hope this help.


    – Ian

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