Children’s digital friendship practices during the first Covid-19 lockdown
Keywords:young children, adolescents, digital media, friendship, Covid-19, agency, affordance
During the Covid-19 pandemic, digital technologies have come to the forefront of mostpeople’s social, professional, and educational lives, and children have, like everyone else, depended on digital media for remote schooling as well as informal communication with their peers. This article presents results from a qualitative interview study among 20 Danish children, aged 3–12, and their parents during the spring and summer of 2020. As would be expected, age predicted a certain level of proficiency with, and access to, digital media technologies. However, children across the age spectrum of our sample relied on adult facilitation of digital practices in similar ways during a time where these were foregrounded in unforeseen ways. We discuss these findings in relation to a triadic theoretical framework of distributed agency, dynamic affordances, and access-oriented aspects of children’s practices with communication technology.
boyd, d. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. Yale University Press.
Bucher, T. (2018). IF… THEN: Algorithmic power and politics. Oxford University Press.
Christensen, P. M., & James, A. (2017). Research with children: Perspectives and practices (3rd. ed.). Routledge.
Corsaro, W. A. (2003). We’re friends, right?: Inside kids’ culture. Joseph Henry Press.
Davis, K. (2012). Friendship 2.0: Adolescents’ experiences of belonging and self-disclosure online. Journal of adolescence, 35(6), 1527–1536. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.02.013
Davis, K. (2013). Young people’s digital lives: The impact of interpersonal relationships and digital media use on adolescents’ sense of identity. Computers in human behavior, 29(6), 2281–2293. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.05.022
Drotner, K., Frau-Meigs, D., Kotilainen, S., & Uusitalo, N. (2017). The double bind of media and information literacy: a critical view on public policy discourses about MIL. In D. Frau-Meigs, I. Velez, & J. F. Michel (Eds.), Public policies in media and information literacy in Europe: Cross-country comparisons (pp. 269–283). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315628851-9
Flewitt, R. (2013). Interviews. In A. Clark, R. Flewitt, M. Hammersley, & M. Robb (Eds.), Understanding research with children and young people (pp. 136–53). Sage.
Flewitt, R., & Clark, A. (2020). Porous boundaries: Reconceptualising the home literacy environment as adigitally networked space for 0 3 year olds. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 20(3), 447–471.
Gubar, M. (2013). Risky business: Talking about children in children’s literature criticism. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 38(4), 450–457.
Gulløv, E. (1999). Betydningsdannelse blandt børn (1. udg.). Gyldendal
Hall, S. (1980). Encoding/decoding. In S. Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, & P. Willis (Eds.). Culture, media, language. Working papers in cultural studies, 1972-79 (pp. 128–138). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203381182
Hynan, A., Murray, J., & Goldbart, J. (2014). ‘Happy and excited’: Perceptions of using digital technology and social media by young people who use augmentative and alternative communication. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 30(2), 175–186.
Islam, N., Jdanov, D. A., Shkolnikov, V. M., Khunti, K., Kawachi, I., White, M., Lewington, S., & Lacey, B. (2021). Effects of Covid-19 pandemic on life expectancy and premature mortality in 2020: Time series analysis in 37 countries. BMJ, 375, e066768. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2021-066768
Ito, M., Baumer, S., Bittanti, M., boyd, d., Cody, R., Herr, B. & Yardi, S. (2010). Hanging out, messing around, geeking out: Living and learning with new media. MIT Press.
James, C., Davis, K., Charmaraman, L., Konrath, S., Slovak, P., Weinstein, E., & Yarosh, L. (2017). Digital Life and Youth Well-being, Social Connectedness, Empathy, and Narcissism. Pediatrics (Evanston), 140(Suppl 2), S71-S75.
Johansen, S. L. (2018). Everyday media play: Children’s playful media practices. Conjunctions: Transdisciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation, 4(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.7146/tjcp.v4i1.103493
Johansen, S.L. & Lundtofte, T.E. (2020). KIDS DIGITAL LIVES IN COVID-19 TIMES - DIGITAL PRACTICES, SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF THE 6-12 YEARS OLD A qualitative study - National report – DENMARK. Working Paper. https://projekter.au.dk/digitalt-boerneliv-under-corona/
Kofoed, J., & Larsen, M. C. (2016). A snap of intimacy: Photo-sharing practices among young people on social media. First Monday, 21(11). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v21i11.6905
Livingstone, S. M., & Sefton-Green, J. (2016). The class: Living and learning in the digital age. New York University Press.
Mascheroni, G., Siibak, A. (2021). Datafied Childhoods. New York, United States of America: Peter Lang Verlag.
Nagy, P., & Neff, G. (2015). Imagined affordance: Reconstructing a keyword for communication theory. Social Media + Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305115603385
Norman, D. A. (1999). Affordance, conventions, and design. Interactions, 6(3), 38–43. https://doi.org/10.1145/301153.301168
Orben, A. (2020). Teenagers, screens and social media: A narrative review of reviews and key studies. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 55(4), 407–414. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-019-01825-4
Peterson, B. L. (2017). Thematic analysis/interpretive thematic analysis. In The international encyclopedia of communication research methods (pp. 1–9). John Wiley & Sons. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118901731
Prensky, M. (2001) Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1108/10748120110424816
Prior, J. (2016). The use of semi-structured interviews with young children. In J. Prior, & J. V. Herwegen (Eds.), Practical research with children (pp. 109–126). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315676067
Rammert, W. (2015). Where the action is: Distributed agency between humans, machines, and programs. In U. Seifert, J. H. Kim, & A. Moore (Eds.), (1st ed.) (pp. 62–91). transcript Verlag. https://doi.org/10.14361/9783839408421-004
Reich, S. M., Subrahmanyam, K., & Espinoza, G. (2012). Friending, IMing, and hanging out face-to-face: Overlap in adolescents’ online and offline social networks. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 356–368. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026980
Shaw, A. (2017). Encoding and decoding affordances: Stuart Hall and interactive media technologies. Media, Culture & Society, 39(4), 592–602. https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443717692741
Sherman, L. E., Michikyan, M., & Greenfield, P. M. (2013). The effects of text, audio, video, and in-person communication on bonding between friends. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 7(2), Article 3. https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2013-2-3
Spyrou, S. (2018). Disclosing childhoods: Research and knowledge production for critical childhood studies. Palgrave.
Twenge, J. M., Spitzberg, B. H., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Less in-person social interaction with peers among U.S. adolescents in the 21st century and links to loneliness. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36(6), 1892–1913. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407519836170
Watson, A., & Lupton, D. (2022). Remote fieldwork in homes during the COVID-19 pandemic: Video-call ethnography and map drawing methods. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 21. https://doi.org/10.1177/16094069221078376
Willett, R. (2015). ‘Friending someone means just adding them to your friends list, not much else’: Children’s casual practices in virtual world games. Convergence, 23(3), 325–340. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856515599513
Yau, J. C., & Reich, S. M. (2017). Are the qualities of adolescents’ offline friendships present in digital interactions? Adolescent Research Review, 3(3), 339–355. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-017-0059-y
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 author and journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Articles submitted to MedieKultur should not be submitted to or published in other journals. Articles published in MedieKultur may be used (downloaded) and reused (distributed, copied, cited) for non-commercial purposes with reference to the authors and publication host.
The authors and MedieKultur own the copyright to the published articles and reviews.