The ‘Platform Agnostic’ Child? What Practice and Research Might be Missing.

Authors: Woodfall

Start date: 4 September 2015

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Children’s media can be said to have long transcended platform delineation, yet research often tends toward the discipline led (or even siloed), and cross-platform media, as an over-arching concept, is still sparsely mapped. Children however operate within complex mediated-lived experiences (Deuze, 2011), and rather than recognising their media engagement in light of any individual platform, we should perhaps consider these experiences to be part of a platform spanning media repertoire (Hasebrink & Popp, 2006) or ‘media mix’ (Ito, 2008). Here we can argue that each utterance of media, in a Bakhtinian sense, should be seen as in dialogue with each other utterance – and any justification for recognising any medium, in the singular, as fixed and finalised, could be said to fall down. Focussing on children’s cross-platform media practice within the UK, this conference paper shares on the findings from on an interdisciplinary multi-method study research project. This study turned toward the reflective and tactile worth of ‘creative’ research approaches and ‘Q method’ and looked to bring together the voices of children with those that make media for children; with the media preferences of the child participants acting as trigger to dialogue. Notably the children that took part in the study tended to address media in a ‘platform agnostic’ manner, and offered little sense that they saw the platform itself as being of any overriding significance to their media engagement. Ultimately then, if children can be seen to experience media in a more ‘conceptual’, or at least less platform led manner, then focusing on any one medium within practice, or research with children, becomes deeply problematic. - References Hasebrink, U. & Popp, J. 2006. Media Repertoires as a Result of Selective Media Use. A Conceptual Approach to the Analysis of Patterns of Exposure. In: Communications, 31(3), 369-387.

Ito, M. 2010. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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