Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media

About Digital Youth

"Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media: An Ethnographic Investigation of Innovative Knowledge Cultures" is a three-year collaborative project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Carried out by researchers at the University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley, the digital youth project explores how kids use digital media in their everyday lives. Read more

Creative Commons License

The work on this site is licensed under a CC-BY-NC. If you share or re-use any work found on the site, please credit the original author and the Digital Youth Project and link back to the Digital Youth Project.

Photo Credits: Ritchie Ly and Geert Allegaert.

Pacman Enters the World of Grand Theft Auto, Fifa Soccer, MacArthur Park, and Anti-Immigrant Minutemen: Stories from the field

Why on earth would kids that play Grand Theft Auto, Fifa Soccer, and Counter Strike be at all interested in Pacman? The 1980s arcade game is pretty simple, does not involve serious acts of violence, and does not feature any scantily clad women. It features no humans for that matter. And the story line – chomping on pellets and the occasional fruit while running away from ghosts – does not necessarily resonate with a high school boy’s grandiose dreams of becoming a professional athlete or skilled marksman.

Featured Project

Transnational Anime Fandoms and Amateur Cultural Production

Project staff: Mimi Ito, Brendan Callum, Renee Saito
Former project staff: Annie Manion, Rachel Cody
Collaborators: Ryan Shaw, Jennifer Urban

The goal of this study is to construct a series of ethnographic case studies of the activities of English-language fandoms of Japan-origin media, particularly anime (animation) and related media such as electronic games, trading cards, and manga (comics). Building on Ito's prior research on children's engagement with new media in Tokyo, this study adds a transnational dimension, focusing on how English-language fans translate, subtitle, share, and remix Japan-origin media. The project aims for a broad ethnographic description of the diverse range of fan activities that comprise anime fandom, focused on the US and English-language online sites. These sites and activities include anime clubs, anime and game conventions, fan subtitling groups, online “shrine” sites dedicated to particular characters or series, anime news and discussion sites, file sharing sites, internet relay chat, anime music videos, fan art, and fan fiction.

Go to project page

Technology and the World of Consumption

I had just finished giving a talk about youth culture to a room full of professionals who worked in the retail industry when a woman raised her hand to tell me a story. It was homecoming season and her daughter Mary was going to go to homecoming for the first time. What fascinated this mother was that her daughter's approach to shopping was completely different than her own.

Projecting Identities

Clubhouse Productions (a pseudonym) is a youth-run, video production company. Ranging in age from 16-18, the mostly male members began forming friendships at school and later, at social events offered for home-schooled children and their families. Even though the boys had seen each other at social events many times, it was not until they began making movies together that they became a tight-knit group. The youth regularly make videos and ritualize aspects of their friendship around video-themed events, such as filming themselves at their annual New Year’s Eve party.

relationship performance in networked publics

Crushes, flirting, and dating are a key aspect of teens' lives. While these nascent relationships often end almost as quickly as they begin, they play a significant role in how teens see themselves and others. Because MySpace is a hangout space for teenagers, aspects of their flirtation with and dismissal of potential partners takes place on the site. Given the public nature of these expressions, we can get a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of teen love.

Looking for participants - Playing Bully!

We are interested in talking to gamers that have played the videogame Bully (Rockstar Games, 2006) for the Sony PlayStation 2. If you are between the ages of 14-18 and want to share your opinions about the game, please send us an email at mbittanti AT gmail DOT com.

Please send us an email for details and please include your age and the city in which you live.

For a more detailed description of the project see the Playing Bully project page.