Barn och dataspel : Om mening och kultur i och kring barns spelande
Media debates about children and new technology is based on adult’s views and opinions, while children’s own knowledge on the subject seldom is represented. I stress that the reason for this is childism. This thesis aims to highlight a selected group of children’s experiences and knowledge about video games in relation to surrounding contexts, peers and adults. The empirical data consists of seven hours of observations from a course on video game programming as well as interviews with four of the participants, aged eight to nine, with an interest in video games. With the use of hermeneutics, affordance theory and theories on culture the data has been analyzed and structured into five themes: Competence and identity, Notions about adults, Video games as communal practices, Regulations and freedom and Normative values about video games. The results indicate a range of different aspects of the participants’ experiences of as well as ideas and assumptions about video games and video game contexts. The participants showed practical and theoretical knowledge about games, their structures and related terms, which they used to shape identities of being knowledgeable persons who play games. This is not to be confused with the label ‘gamer’, which not all participants identified themselves with. Despite the fact that some of the participants knew adults who had a more or less substantial interest in gaming, they considered adults to be individuals who do not play video games and are unversed about games in general. Video games and their surrounding contexts can be seen as communal practice which constitutes in virtual as well as physical spaces. During the observation studies it became clear that video games were the focal point of interaction in the participants’ peer culture, and that this peer culture was part of and extended into a superior video game culture. The participants gaming practices were regulated by the premises of the games as well as aspects concerning when, what and for how long they were allowed to play; all of which was mainly determined by adults. By resistance or acceptance, the participants either yielded or used strategies to elude the restrictions. Occasionally during the interviews, the participants made statements that appear to be shaped by normative values about both children, video games and gamers. These normative values derive from discourses concerning quality, what is considered to be a ‘good childhood’ and the alleged dangers of video games; discourses that the participants both reproduced and opposed. In conclusion, these matters need to be further researched and brought into light to nuance the common debate about children and video games.
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