Children & the Internet

Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., is a graduate of our Ph.D. program. He is editor of Children’s Technology Review, a periodical covering children’s interactive media and founder of Mediatech Foundation, a nonprofit technology center based in New Jersey. He also runs this awesome conference on games and learning called Dust or magic. This much I knew…

What I didn’t know is that he is also adviser to Consumer Reports WebWatch and recently completed an ethnographic study with them about how young children interact with online environments. You can read the complete report here: Like taking candy from a baby: How young children interact with online environments [PDF].

One of the most interesting things in this report are the embedded links to real video data – all archived on YouTube. What a change from standard practice, where the data were always filtered through the interpretive voice of the researcher. The raw data was rarely if ever made accessible to readers and other researchers. Not any more. Now, you can read the report, but you don’t have to take Warren’s word for what he saw – you can see it for yourself. You can then choose to agree, or disagree with him based on the same information that he had.

This is a new paradigm of research – one made possible with changes in technology. But not everybody is ready for this change, and there is still a lot we have to learn. As Warren said to me in an email, “I’m thinking that there needs to be a new research methods class on how to use youtube!” He went on to add that, he “found the blunt honesty to be rather liberating.”

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