The Internet of Toys: A report on media and social discourses around young children and IoToys.

Giovanna Mascheroni, D. Holloway

Risultato della ricerca: Working paper

Abstract

The Internet of Toys (IoToys) is part of the growing world of the Internet of Things (IoT). While certain internet-connected toys are part of some children’s everyday experiences (such as toys-to-life which connect to video games), they are yet to become an everyday experience for most young children. Nonetheless, the diffusion of Internet-connected toys is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. The aim of this report is therefore twofold. First, we aim to provide a critical introduction to the Internet of Toys, by setting its conceptual boundaries and discussing the theoretical, methodological and policy challenges it raises. Second, we aim to report on the findings of a small comparative project we have carried out as part of the activities of Working Group 4 of the COST Action DigiLitEY. At this stage, Internet-connected toys are an emerging market, thus making empirical research on their appropriation and use in the everyday lives of children and their families difficult. As a consequence, and in order to understand whether and how IoToys have entered play discourses, we examine the discursive environment of smart toys, i.e. its representations in media commentaries and commercial advertisements. Analysing these representations help us to understand how the opportunities and risks of IoToys are constructed and framed. It also shed lights on the production and design of internet connected-toys, as well as on their reception. In conveying meanings, values and identities, representations are central to how new technological artefacts are produced and consumed (du Gay et al., 1997): in other words, discursive constructions of IoToys construct ideal users and uses that feed into parents’ and children’s imaginaries, and inform social expectations and anxieties at large.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine50
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017

Keywords

  • Internet of Things
  • Internet of Toys
  • opportunities
  • risks
  • robotification
  • young children

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