Skip navigation
Hardcover | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262013369 | 440 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 10 b&w photos, 3 figures| October 2009
Paperback | $21.00 Short | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780262518543 | 440 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 10 b&w photos, 3 figures| January 2013
eBook | | ISBN: 9780262259736 | 440 pp. | 10 b&w photos, 3 figures| October 2009
About MIT Press eBooks

Look Inside

Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out

Kids Living and Learning with New Media


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 networking sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youths’ 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.

Integrating twenty-three 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.

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
“Through their meticulous ethnographic exploration of emerging media practices in everyday life, Mizuko Ito and her colleagues paint a vivid portrait of young people's diverse modes of participation with new media. Over and again, this thought-provoking book challenges adult preconceptions and traditional preoccupations, insisting that we recognize the values, concerns, and literacies of today's youth.”
Sonia Livingstone , London School of Economics and Political Science