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Children and their Changing Media Environment

A European Comparative Study

Sonia Livingstone and Moira Bovill, editors

Volume in press with Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Published 2001

Volume Preface, by Sonia Livingstone

The domestic television screen is being transformed into the site of a multimedia culture integrating telecommunications, broadcasting, computing, and video. Already, satellite and cable television, interactive video and electronic games, the personal computer and the Internet are central to the daily lives of children and young people. Yet, little is known about the meanings, uses, and impacts of these new technologies. This volume brings together researchers from twelve countries - Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. We present new findings about the diffusion and significance of new media and information technologies among children and young people.

Forty years ago, Himmelweit, Oppenheim and Vince's Television and the child (1958), together with Schramm's Television in the lives of our children (1961), set the scene for researchers, parents, teachers and policy makers as they came to grips with the introduction of television in the United Kingdom and America respectively. This volume was inspired by parallels between the arrival in the family home of television in the 1950s and the present-day arrival of new media. Today, similar questions are being asked and similar hopes and fears expressed. On the other hand, much has changed and is still changing. This seemed, therefore, a good moment to take stock and ask, what is the place of media in children and young people's lives today?

Some issues are familiar, being revisited as each new medium is introduced. Others are new. What are the impacts of new information and communication technologies on older mass media? What new opportunities for integrating learning, socializing and playing are being facilitated? Will some be excluded from these opportunities while others live in an increasingly information-rich environment? Will the growing importance of the media add to the variety and pleasure in young people's lives, or will this contribute to their withdrawal from traditional leisure activities and even from social and political participation? Will the media strengthen local identities with locally produced programming or will they support the emergence of transnational identities?

Empirical research is needed to understand the balance between the opportunities and dangers of new media. The contributors to this book argue that such questions - intellectual, empirical, and policy-related - can be productively addressed through comparative, cross-national research. This allows us to ask about the similarities and differences in children and young people's media environments within and between European countries. It also allows us to relate the similarities and differences in media use to cross-national differences in family structure, education system, or civic culture, and so forth. Comparative work is not lightly undertaken, and this volume aims also to illuminate the comparative research process itself. In conducting the research we have interviewed and surveyed some 11,000 6-16 year olds around Europe, as well as many of their parents and teachers, as part of the project, Children, Young People and the Changing Media Environment.

Volume Contents

Preface

Sonia Livingstone

Foreword

Jay Blumler

PART 1

RESEARCHING YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE CHANGING MEDIA ENVIRONMENT

Chapter 1

CHILDHOOD IN EUROPE: CONTEXTS FOR COMPARISON
Sonia Livingstone, Leen d'Haenens and Uwe Hasebrink

Chapter 2

DOING COMPARATIVE RESEARCH WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Sonia Livingstone and Dafna Lemish

PART 2

A TIME AND PLACE FOR NEW MEDIA

Chapter 3

OLD AND NEW MEDIA: ACCESS AND OWNERSHIP IN THE HOME
Leen d'Haenens

Chapter 4

CHILDREN 'S USE OF DIFFERENT MEDIA: HOW LONG FOR AND WHY?
Johannes W.J. Beentjes, Cees M. Koolstra, Nies Marseille and Tom H.A. van der Voort

Chapter 5

MEDIA USE STYLES AMONG THE YOUNG
Ulla Johnsson-Smaragdi

Chapter 6

MEDIA GENRES AND CONTENT PREFERENCES
Carmelo Garitaonandia, Patxi Juaristi and Jose A. Oleaga

PART 3

CONTEXTS OF YOUTH AND CHILDHOOD

Chapter 7

MEDIA AT HOME: INTERACTION AND REGULATION IN EUROPEAN FAMILIES
Dominique Pasquier

Chapter 8

BEDROOM CULTURE AND THE PRIVATIZATION OF MEDIA USE
Moira Bovill and Sonia Livingstone

Chapter 9

THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN PEER GROUP RELATIONS
Annikka Suoninen

Chapter 10

COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET IN SCHOOL: CLOSING THE KNOWLEDGE GAP?
Daniel Suess

PART 4

EMERGING THEMES

Chapter 11

WHO ARE THE NEW MEDIA USERS?
Friedrich Krotz and Uwe Hasebrink

Chapter 12

GENDERED MEDIA MEANINGS AND USES
Dafna Lemish, Tamar Liebes and Vered Seidmann

Chapter 13

GLOBAL MEDIA THROUGH YOUTHFUL EYES
Kirsten Drotner

Chapter 14

CHILDREN AND THEIR CHANGING MEDIA ENVIRONMENT
Sonia Livingstone

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