Denise Mensonides | Digital Literacy within the family context

Denise Mensonides | Digital Literacy within the family context | Overarching project: Informed Citizenship for All – Digital Literacy as a Prerequisite for an Inclusive Society | University of Groningen, The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) | Promotor: Prof. Dr. M.J. Broersma, Co-promotor/Daily supervisor: Dr. A.M.L. Van Cauwenberge | 1 September 2020 – 1 September 2024 | d.mensonides[at]

This PhD project considers if and how the causes that foster or prohibit the development of digital literacy differ between children with a more or less vulnerable socio-economic background. It asks under what circumstances the development of digital media literacy is supported within households, and what these differences in how families deal with media within the household mean for children’s media practices in- and outside the home. The project focuses on three domains of digital literacy in particular:

  • informed citizenship: how do children develop an understanding of social reality through digital media?
  • social capital: how do children develop personal relations via digital media?
  • digital resilience: how do children deal with issues of privacy and online security?

For this research children between the ages of 8 and 12 will be studied. The study will focus on children from different socio-economic background within the city of Groningen. To understand the practices and attitudes around the use of digital media in different social contexts, and to analyze these in relation to the overall development of children, it is necessary to follow the research group intensively over a longer period of time. I will observe the children’s behavior, interact with them and conduct in-depth interviews using creativity-based techniques. To bring together the different social contexts in which children interact, I will also conduct interviews with the children’s parents, the pedagogical staff at the respective childcare locations, and their teachers.

To understand how children develop digital literacy I will apply an emic approach starting from the lived experiences of our participants. I will combine qualitative research methods such as (participant) observation, interviews, think-aloud protocols and creative methods to reach a comprehensive understanding.