The place of digital devices in the home and family routines of young children (3-7) in Madrid

Galera, N; Matsumoto, M. y Poveda, D. (2016). The place of digital devices in the home and family routines of young children (3-7) in Madrid. Media Education: Studi, Ricerche, Boune Pratiche, 7 (2), 303-319.

This paper presents results from a study exploring how families with young children organize their daily routines and the place that digital technologies and devices play in these routines. Data from the study draws on an extension of the study coordinated by the EU Joint Research Center on young children (0-8) and digital technology conducted in Spain during 2015 and includes home observations, interviews and video home-tours with 9 families and 10 children from the Madrid (Spain) metropolitan area between 3 and 7 years of age. The analysis draws on concepts from current socio-cultural and ecological theory and examines the interrelationships between adult home activities, children’s care and activity needs and the co-organization of family routines. Our sample allows dividing the children in two age groups (five children between 3-5 years of age and five children between 6-7 years of age) and the cross-sectional analysis suggests a developmental pattern in the co-organization of this family activity and participation system. Younger children seem to have a more autonomous, but not necessarily solitary, use of digital (hand-held) devices that is compatible with parent’s attention to other house chores or work-related demands. Older children continue to use digital devices but as their uses become more varied and parental worries about risks more explicit, more engaged mediation strategies become visible in parents. In both cases, family members co-construct their family routines and activity ecologies, which develop over time, and our data suggests that digital devices (in the set of urban/suburban «European» families we have studied) play an important role in the organization and development of children’s family life. Keywords: Children’s Routines – Digital Media – Ecocultural Theory – Parental Mediation – Home.

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