Media, Family Interaction and the Digitalization of Childhood
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Media, Family Interaction and the Digitalization of Childhood

Edited by Anja R. Lahikainen, Tiina Mälkiä and Katja Repo

This is a first-class repository of new knowledge on how media and family routines intertwine in daily interactions. The multi-method approach reveals how varying forms of media affect the interaction between children and their parents. Avoiding criticism of these interactions, the contributors instead offer an impartial view of the natural occurrences in media-related family life.
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Chapter 9: The sticky media device

Eerik Mantere and Sanna Raudaskoski


In this chapter, a video-recorded mundane conversation between a 12-year-old daughter and her mother, who is simultaneously using a smartphone, is analysed in detail. The authors discovered that the overlapping use of a smartphone challenges the common norms of request and response, and in addition produces difficulties in interpretation of the present level of agreement. The authors introduce the term ‘sticky media device’ to define these difficulties and the divided attention between the interlocutor and the device. Attention stuck to the ‘sticky’ smartphone makes responses to the interlocutor slow, hesitant and ambiguous. According to the case analysed, it is challenging for the daughter to ‘unstick’ her mother’s attention from the device, which readily returns to the device, even when the daughter momentarily gains it. This case study raises the question of whether the phenomenon of the sticky media device, by confusing the traditional norms of conversation, can affect the way children learn the common norms of interaction.

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