Advertisement

The Domestication of Smart Toys: Perceptions and Practices of Young Children and Their Parents

  • Rita Brito
  • Patrícia DiasEmail author
  • Gabriela Oliveira
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)

Abstract

This chapter discusses how smart toys are being adopted in homes with young children (under 10), using domestication theory (Silverstone and Hirsch in Consuming Technologies: Media and information in domestic spaces. Routledge, London, 1992) as the framework. We report on a qualitative exploratory study aiming to understand the different domestication stages—appropriation, objectification, incorporation and conversion. Our method consisted of visits to a purposive sample of 21 families, combining interviews, activities and non-participant observation. Our findings reveal that parents have mixed perceptions about smart toys—they value their educational potential but fear an excess of technological play and consider them expensive. We found smart toys in a few homes, observing early stages of domestication, with smart toys becoming part of an “ecosystem” of other toys and activities, but still with a “novelty” status.

Keywords

Smart toys IoToys (Internet of Toys) Young children Domestication Perceptions 

References

  1. Berker, T., Hartmann, M., Punie, Y., & Ward, K. (2006). Domestication of media and technology. London: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Thousand Oaks, London, and New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Brito, R., Francisco, R., Dias, P., & Chaudron, S. (2017). Family dynamics in digital homes: The role played by parental mediation in young children’s digital practices around 14 European countries. Contemporary Family Therapy, 39(4), 271–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chambers, D. (2016). Changing media, homes and households: Cultures, technologies and meanings. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Charmaz, K. (2004). Grounded theory. In S. N. Hesse-Biber & P. Leavy (Eds.), Approaches to qualitative research (pp. 496–521). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chaudron, S., Beutel, M. E., Černikova, M., Donoso, V., Dreier, M., … & Wölfling, K. (2015). Young children (0–8) and digital technology: A qualitative exploratory study across seven countries. JRC 93239/EUR 27052.Google Scholar
  7. Chaudron, S., Di Gioia, R., Gemo, M., Holloway, D., Marsh, J., Mascheroni, G., … Yamada-Rice, D. (2017). Kaleidoscope on the internet of toys—Safety, security, privacy and societal insights. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/TtuntC.
  8. Chen, Z. H., Liao, C., Chien, T. C., & Chan, T. W. (2011). Animal companions: Fostering children’s effort-making by nurturing virtual pets. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(1), 166–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Connell, S. L., Lauricella, A. R., & Wartella, E. (2015). Parental co-use of media technology with their young children in the USA. Journal of Children and Media, 9, 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Denscombe, M. (2007). The good research guide: For small-scale social research projects. Maidenhead, England and New York: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dias, P., & Brito, R. (2016). Crianças (0 a 8 anos) e Tecnologias Digitais. Lisboa: Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10400.14/19160.
  12. Dias, P., & Brito, R. (2017). Crianças (0 a 8 anos) e Tecnologias Digitais: Que mudanças num ano? Lisboa: Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10400.14/22498.
  13. Dias, P., Brito, R., Ribbens, W., Daniela, L., Rubene, Z., Dreier, M., … Chaudron, S. (2016). The role of parents in the engagement of young children with digital technologies: Exploring tensions between rights of access and protection, from ‘gatekeepers’ to ‘scaffolders’. Global Studies of Childhood, 6(4), 414–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Drotner, K. (1999). Dangerous media? Panic discourses and dilemmas of Modernity. International Journal of the History of Education, 35(3), 593–619.Google Scholar
  15. Haddon, L. (2006). The contribution of domestication research to in-home computing and media consumption. The Information Society, 22, 195–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haddon, L. (2011). Domestication analysis, objects of study, and the centrality of technologies in everyday life. Canadian Journal of Communication, 36(2), 311–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hepp, A., & Krotz, F. (Eds.). (2014). Mediatized worlds: Culture and society in a media age. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Holloway, D., & Green, L. (2016). The internet of toys. Communication Research and Practice, 2(4), 506–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holloway, D., & Green, L. (2017). Mediated memory making: The virtual family photograph album. Communications, 44(3), 351–368.Google Scholar
  20. Holloway, D. J., Green, L., & Stevenson, K. (2015, August). Digitods: Toddlers, touch screens and Australian family life. M/C Journal, 18(5). ISSN 14412616. (Special Issue). Available at http://www.journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/1024. Accessed 21 December 2018.
  21. Katz, J., & Aakhus, M. (2002). Perpetual contact: Mobile communication, private talk, public performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kotler, P., Kartajaya, H., & Setiawan, I. (2017). Marketing 4.0: Moving from traditional to digital. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  23. Kucirnova, N., & Sakr, M. (2015). Child-father creative text-making at home with crayons, iPad collage and PC. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 17, 59–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lawlor, M. A., & Prothero, A. (2011). Pester power: A battle of wills between children and their parents. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(5), 551–561.Google Scholar
  25. Ling, R. (2004). The mobile connection: The cell phone’s impact on society. New York: Morgan Kaufmann.Google Scholar
  26. Livingstone, S., Mascheroni, G., Dreier, M., Chaudron, S., & Lagae, K. (2015). How parents of young children manage digital devices at home: The role of income, education and parental style. EU Kids online. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/6rvdhe.
  27. Livingstone, S., Ólafsson, K., Helsper, E., Lupiáñez-Villanueva, F., Veltri, G., & Folkvord, F. (2017). Maximizing opportunities and minimizing risks for children online: The role of digital skills in emerging strategies of parental mediation. Journal of Communication, 67(1), 82–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Livingstone, S., & Third, A. (2017). Children and young people’s rights in the digital age: An emerging agenda. New Media & Society, 19(5), 657–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Llorente & Cuenca. (2017). Consumer engagement trends for 2017: The phygital era. Retrieved from http://www.desarrollando-ideas.com.
  30. Marsh, J. (Ed.). (2005). Popular culture, new media and digital literacy in early childhood. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  31. Marsh, J. (2017). The internet of toys: A posthuman and multimodal analysis of connected play. Teachers College Record, 119. Retrieved from http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/113557/14/38_22073.pdf.
  32. Mascheroni, G., & Holloway, D. (Eds.). (2017). The internet of toys: A report on media and social discourses around young children and IoToys. DigiLitEY. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/2C1VsR.
  33. Mitskavets, I. (2015). Children and teens as influencers. London: Mintel. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/C9Mkcf.
  34. Mukherji, P., & Albon, D. (2010). Research methods in early childhood: An introductory guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Nikken, P., & Jansz, J. (2014). Developing scales to measure parental mediation of young children’s internet use. Learning, Media and Technology, 39(2), 250–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ofcom. (2017). Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/BrmPF2.
  37. Plowman, L., McPake, J., & Stephen, C. (2008). Just picking it up? Young children learning with technology at home. Cambridge Journal of Education, 38, 303–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ray, A. (2012). The methodology of sampling and purposive sampling. Berlin: Grin Publishing.Google Scholar
  39. Reuver, M., Nikou, S., & Bouwman, H. (2016). Domestication of smartphones and mobile applications: A quantitative mixed-method study. Mobile Media & Communication, 4(3), 347–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rosin, H. (2013). The touch-screen generation. The Atlantic, 20.Google Scholar
  41. Silverstone, R., & Haddon, L. (1996). Design and the domestication of information and communication technologies: Technical change in everyday life. In R. Silverstone & R. Mansell (Eds.), Communication by design: The politics of information and communication technologies (pp. 44–74). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Silverstone, R., & Hirsch, E. (Eds.). (1992). Consuming technologies: Media and information in domestic spaces. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Valcke, M., Bonte, S., Wener, B., & Rots, I. (2010). Internet parenting styles and the impact on internet use of primary school children. Computers & Education, 55(2), 454–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Valkenburg, P. (2002). Beeldschermkinderen: Theorieën over kind en media [Screen-kids: Theories about children and media]. Amsterdam: Boom.Google Scholar
  45. Vincent, J. (2006). Emotional attachment and mobile phones. Knowledge, Technology & Policy, 19(1), 39–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wang, W., Kuo, V., King, C., & Chang, C. (2010). Internet of toys: An e-Pet overview and proposed innovative social toy service platform. Computer Symposium (ICS). Tainan, 16–18 December. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/aR4b89.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polytechnic Institute of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Catholic University of PortugalLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations