Informationen zum Digital Youth Project und seinen Ergebnissen (2009)

Video: Mizuko Ito on Why Time Spent Online Is Important for Teen Development

"It might surprise parents to learn that it is not a waste of time for their teens to hang out online," says Mizuko Ito, University of California, Irvine researcher and the lead author of the most extensive U.S. study to date on teens and their use of digital media. "There are myths about kids spending time online - that it is dangerous or making them lazy. But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age."

Zusammenfassung der Studie

"Over three years, University of California, Irvine researcher Mizuko Ito and her team interviewed over 800 youth and young adults and conducted over 5000 hours of online observations as part of the most extensive U.S. study of youth media use. They found that social network and video-sharing sites, online games, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now fixtures of youth culture. The research shows that today's youth may be coming of age and struggling for autonomy and identity amid new worlds for communication, friendship, play, and self-expression. Many adults worry that children are wasting time online, texting, or playing video games. The researchers explain why youth find these activities compelling and important.

The digital world is creating new opportunities for youth to grapple with social norms, explore interests, develop technical skills, and experiment with new forms of self-expression. These activities have captured teens' attention because they provide avenues for extending social worlds, self-directed learning, and independence." (Zusammenfassung)


"An ethnographic approach means that we work to understand how media and technology are meaningful to people in their everyday lives. We rely on qualitative methods of interviewing, observation, and interpretive analysis in an effort to understand patterns in culture and social practices from the point of view of participants themselves, rather than beginning with our own categories. Our goal is to capture the youth cultures and practices related to new media, as well as the surrounding context, such as peer relations, family dynamics, local community institutions, and broader networks of technology and consumer culture." (White paper, S. 7)

"We take youth seriously as actors in their own social worlds and look at childhood as a socially constructed and contested category whose definition has varied historically over time." (White paper, S. 7)

"Our work has mostly focused on youth in their middle-school and high-school years, between the ages of 12 and 18.
As we indicate above, we have made our best effort at examining the diversity among youth, rather than suggesting that youth share a monolithic identity. As described in the following chapter, we have also engaged, to a lesser extent, with parents, educators, and young adults who participate in or are involved in structuring youth new media practices. The category of youth and youth culture is co-constructed by adults and young people."
"An ethnography of youth insists on attention to both the focal object of youth culture and to the adult cultures that have a formative and pervasive influence."

genres of participation

"Genres of participation allow us to identify the sources of diversity in how youth engage with new media in a way that does not rely on a simple notion of "divides" or a ranking of more or less sophisticated media expertise. Instead, these genres represent different investments that youth make in particular forms of sociability and differing forms of identification with media genres.

By friendship-driven genres of participation, we refer to the dominant and mainstream practices of youth as they go about their day-to-day negotiations with friends and peers. These friendship-driven practices center on peers whom youth encounter in the age-segregated contexts of school but might also include friends and peers whom they meet through religious groups, school sports, and other local activity groups. For most youth, these local friendship-driven networks are their primary source of affiliation, friendship, and romantic partners, and their lives online mirror this local network. MySpace and Facebook are the emblematic online sites for these sets of practices.

In contrast to friendship-driven practices, interest-driven genres of participation put specialized activities, interests, or niche and marginalized identities first. Interest-driven practices are what youth describe as the domain of the geeks, freaks, musicians, artists, and dorks, who are identified as smart, different, or creative, and who generally exist at the margins of teen social worlds. Youth find a different network of peers and develop deep friendships through these interest-driven engagements, but in these cases the interests come first, and they structure the peer network and friendships.

It is not about the given social relations that structure youth's school lives but about both focusing and expanding on an individual's social circle based on interests. Although some interest-based activities such as sports and music have been supported through schools and overlap with young people's friendship-driven networks, other kinds of interests require more far-flung networks of affiliation and expertise.

Friendship-driven and interest-driven genres provide a broad framework for identifying what we saw as the most salient social and cultural distinction that differentiated new media practice among youth.

In addition, we have identified three genres of participation that describe different degrees of commitment to media engagement: hanging out, messing around, and geeking out.

These three genres are a way of describing different levels of intensity and sophistication in media engagement with reference to social and cultural context, rather than relying exclusively on measures of frequency or assuming that certain forms of media or technology automatically correlate with "high-end" and "low-end" forms of media literacy." (White paper, S. 13 f))

" Unlike hanging out, in which the desire is to maintain social connections to friends, messing around represents the beginning of a more intense, media-centric form of engagement. When messing around, young people begin to take an interest in and focus on the workings and content of the technology and media themselves, tinkering, exploring, and extending their understanding.

Some activities that we identify as messing around include looking around, searching for information online, and experimentation and play with gaming and digital media production. Messing around is often a transitional stage between hanging out and more interest-driven participation. It involves experimentation and exploration with relatively low investment, where there are few consequences to trial, error, and even failure.

Messing around with new media requires an interest-driven orientation and is supported by access to online resources, media production resources, and a social context for sharing of media knowledge and interests." (White paper, S. 20)

Geeking Out

"The ability to engage with media and technology in an intense, autonomous, and interest-driven way is a unique feature of today's media environment. Particularly for kids with newer technology and high-speed Internet at home, the Internet can provide access to an immense amount of information related to their particular interests, and it can support various forms of "geeking out"- an intense commitment to or engagement with media or technology, often one particular media property, genre, or type of technology. Geeking out involves learning to navigate esoteric domains of knowledge and practice and participating in communities that traffic in these forms of expertise. It is a mode of learning that is peer-driven, but focused on gaining deep knowledge and expertise in specific areas of interest." (White paper, S. 28)

Einige Schlussfolgerungen der Studie:

" Participation in the digital age means more than being able to access "serious" online information and culture; it also means the ability to participate in social and recreational activities online." S. 35

"In addition to economic barriers, youth encounter institutional, social, and cultural constraints to online participation." S. 36

"Networked publics provide a context for youth to develop social norms in negotiation with their peers." S. 36

"Youth are developing new forms of media literacy that are keyed to new media and youth-centered social and cultural worlds.

We have identified a range of different practices that are evidence of youth-defined new media literacies. On the friendship-driven side, youth are developing shared norms for online publicity, including how to represent oneself in online profiles, norms for displaying peer networks online, the ranking of relationships in social network sites, and the development of new genres of written communication such as composed casualness in online messages. On the interest-driven side, youth continue to test the limits of forms of new media literacy and expression. Youth are developing a wide range of more specialized and sometimes exclusionary forms of new media literacies that are defined in opposition to those developed in more mainstream youth practices." S. 38 f

Zusammenfassung, 2 Seiten,

Kurzfassung der Studie (58 Seiten)
Ito, Mizuko et al., White Paper - Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project (2008)

Online-Fassung der Gesamtstudie
Ito, Mizuko et al., Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out: Living and Learning with New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press (im Druck)

Informationen zum Gesamtprojekt