Resisting hyperreality? talking to young children about YouTube and YouTube Kids

O'Connor, Jane and Fotakopoulou, Olga and Johnston, Kelly and Kewalramani, Sarika and Ludgate, Shannon (2023) Resisting hyperreality? talking to young children about YouTube and YouTube Kids. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. ISSN 1463-9491

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This article reports on a study investigating how 13 young children in English speaking countries (England, Scotland, Australia, USA) watch and engage with digital content on YouTube and YouTube Kids (YT/YTK). Given the increasing amounts of time children spend viewing these platforms, and related concerns around the commercial algorithms which direct their viewing choices, the research aims were to understand how young children make choices about what to watch and to explore the extent of their comprehension of the constructed, ‘unreal’ nature that characterises a large proportion of these videos, particularly those presented by children (micro-celebrities). Using child centred methodologies the research was carried out by parent-researchers and the findings were analysed and interpreted using elements of Baudrillard’s (1994) theory of hyperreality. The study found that the children selected videos for a variety of reasons including those related to their ‘real-life’ interests, and were largely able to discern between the real and hyperreal in videos by drawing on existing frames of reference and applying their developing knowledge and understanding of the world. The paper provides insights into young children's experiences, understandings and preferences around using YT/YTK and extends Baudrillard's perspectives on the hyperreal from postmodernism into a post-digital conceptual realm.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
23 February 2023Accepted
20 April 2023Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Baudrillard, digital media, hyperreality, micro-celebrity, YouTube Kids
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-06 - cultural studies
CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Jane O'connor
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2023 11:39
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2023 11:39

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