Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
Conventional wisdom about young people's use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today's teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networks sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youth's social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings—at home, in after school programs, and in online spaces. By focusing on media practices in the everyday contexts of family and peer interaction, the book views the relationship of youth and new media not simply in terms of technology trends but situated within the broader structural conditions of childhood and the negotiations with adults that frame the experience of youth in the United States.
Integrating twenty-three different case studies—which include Harry Potter podcasting, video-game playing, music-sharing, and online romantic breakups—in a unique collaborative authorship style, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out is distinctive for its combination of in-depth description of specific group dynamics with conceptual analysis.
This book was written as a collaborative effort by members of the Digital Youth Project, a three-year research effort funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning
About the Author
Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist who studies new media use, particularly among young people, in Japan and the United States, and a Professor in Residence at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.
“While the in-depth description of this framework would in itself value the time spent reading this book, there is much more in it. It is highly suggested reading to anyone interested to know more about kids’ everyday informal learning practices with new media (especially teachers, parents, and policy-makers).” , Fabio Giglietto, Information, Communication and Society
"Finally a book that provides a deeply grounded and nuanced description of today's digital youth culture and practices as they negotiate their identity, their peer-based relationships, and their relationships with adults. Then, building on this rich and diverse set of ethnographies, the authors constructed a powerful analytic framework which provides new conceptual lenses to make sense of the emerging digital media landscape. This book is a must for anyone interested in youth culture, learning, and new media."
—John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation, and Former Director of Xerox PARC
"Mimi Ito and her colleagues present a wealth of empirical research and scholarship that is quite breathtaking in its scope and diversity. They provide a range of rich and engaging descriptive case studies, but never lose sight of the broader themes and critical issues at stake. This book sets a very high standard for future scholarship in the field: it will be the inescapable reference point for many years to come."
—David Buckingham, Institute of Education, University of London, UK
"Mizuko Ito and her team have put together an extraordinarily perceptive series of essays about what it means to grow up in a digital era. They cut through the myths that cloud our conversations about 'kids these days' and what they are doing during long hours online and on mobile devices. Every parent, teacher, and librarian should read this book cover-to-cover. This is crucially important research, presented in clear and accessible prose."
—John Palfrey, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, author of Born Digital
"This is a beautifully written and extraordinarily rich account of perhaps the most important challenge cyberspace gives us: understanding how it is changing our kids, and how it might change our understanding of literacy. We've had clues about both before. But this is a critically important and deeply informed contribution to this essential subject of learning."
Lawrence Lessig, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford University, author of The Future of Ideas and Remix