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Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media [Hardcover]

Mizuko Ito , Heather A. Horst , Judd Antin , Megan Finn , Arthur Law , Annie Manion , Sarai Mitnick , David Schlossberg , Sarita Yardi

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Book Description

Oct. 30 2009 The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning

Conventional wisdom about young people's use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today's teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networking sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youths' social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings -- at home, in after-school programs, and in online spaces. Integrating twenty-three case studies -- which include Harry Potter podcasting, video-game playing, music sharing, and online romantic breakups -- in a unique collaborative authorship style, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out is distinctive for its combination of in-depth description of specific group dynamics with conceptual analysis.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (Oct. 30 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262013363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262013369
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 748 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #346,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Finally a book that provides a deeply grounded and nuanced description of today's digital youth culture and practices as they negotiate their identity, their peer-based relationships, and their relationships with adults. Then, building on this rich and diverse set of ethnographies, the authors constructed a powerful analytic framework which provides new conceptual lenses to make sense of the emerging digital media landscape. This book is a must for anyone interested in youth culture, learning, and new media."--John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation, and Former Director of Xerox PARC

"Through their meticulous ethnographic exploration of emerging media practices in everyday life, Mizuko Ito and her colleagues paint a vivid portrait of young people's diverse modes of participation with new media. Over and again, this thought-provoking book challenges adult preconceptions and traditional preoccupations, insisting that we recognize the values, concerns, and literacies of today's youth." --Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and Political Science

(Sonia Livingstone)

"While the in-depth description of this framework would in itself value the time spent reading this book, there is much more in it. It is highly suggested reading to anyone interested to know more about kids' everyday informal learning practices with new media (especially teachers, parents, and policy-makers)." Fabio Giglietto Information, Communication and Society

About the Author

Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist who studies new media use, particularly among young people, in Japan and the United States, and a Professor in Residence at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book...free here... Nov. 30 2011
By V. Nguyen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book, qualitative study using ethnographic research to explore the ubiquity and variety of online use by pre-teens and teens. It is free from MIT: mitpress dot mit dot edu/books/full_pdfs/hanging_out dot pdf
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Relax Parents March 24 2013
By Harold G Watts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In "Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out," Ito et al. explore how friendships, intimacies, and family relationships have been altered through the use of social networking sites and entertainment venues. The emphasis is on youth culture. Although youth have for generations carved out space separate from their parents and other adults in order to develop their own identities and establish peer relationships, media technologies have begun to change the dynamics of this process. Adults have always tried to maintain some control over how youth spend their time and with whom they spend that time. There has always been the constant struggle of what youth are allowed to keep private and what they want to share with their immediate world. With the advent of social networking sites, this gives youth a whole new layer of responsibility and outcomes for better or worse.

The book has numerous case studies from which to glean information, although I will have to admit, the outcomes were fairly predictable. I didn't feel personally that I learned a lot. On the other hand, I have talked with a number of parents whom have read this book, and I do believe it helped them put social networking sites in a brighter spot. Parents always want to protect their children, but they also want them to develop as individuals, so there's a fine line in how their children's online time is spent. Children can get hurt using social networking sites but hopefully they can learn from their experiences. Since social media is still at a young phase, people are going to get better at managing themselves and what they post.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable asset for anyone interested in young people and media Feb. 28 2011
By Andrew King - Published on Amazon.com
This book draws upon a rich assortment of ethnographic case studies from across the United States to examine how contemporary youth cultures engage with new media. As a broad-based qualitative study, each chapter focuses on the subjects important to young people, from negotiating relationships with friends and family, networking with peers in online gaming environments, through to developing technical skills and professional interests with websites, blogs and social media. In that sense, Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out is an excellent study of different individuals, peer groups and families relationships, showing how everyday interactions of young people and technology are invariably framed by issues such as peer status, knowledge and learning, identity, gender and economics.

The book's title is a memorable one, and comes from the author's desire to accurately capture the `three genres of participation' most relevant to young people and new media. The case studies quoted are highly descriptive, giving ample evidence to show how `young people's practices, learning, and identity formation' are intertwined and relational (31). The concept of `media ecology' is used to emphasize the interrelatedness of new media with more accepted structures of learning and cohabitation, such as schools and nuclear families. Their approach adds real value to way that media and technology is studied, showing that it is indelibly part of contemporary everyday life, where it exists on a continuum of high to low usage for both parents and teenagers. Though there is considerable focus on high-end users of technology (on the geekier-side of the scale), each study provides just as much information about young people who have little access to the internet and/or even mobile phones. As the book illustrates, teen attitudes towards internet and social media are ultimately framed by a combination of parental attitudes, peer expectations and personal interests.

A most engaging part of the book is the way in which case studies are tied into broader media and academic debates about media usage. This is particularly true of chapter 2, which examines the `hanging out' aspects of teen friendships through social networking sites like Facebook, Photobucket and Myspace. This chapter engages with the common perception that social networking sites expose teens to more dangerous forms of relationships with unfamiliar people. Hanging Out provides evidence to show how, as the majority of teens are aware of the risks, interviewees are much more interested in using new media to maintain existing offline relationships. Teens use social networking websites to organise friendships according to similar interests and values, meaning that applications like `Top Friends' on Myspace are well-suited to teenage obsessions with social status and popularity. Here the author's present a convincing account of teenage autonomy through which friendship is performed through websites, gadgets and widgets to extend school-based friendships, hierarchies and anxieties. Hanging Out is a brilliant resource not only for scholars interested in new research methods and findings about new media, but also for parents and teachers in understanding more about teenage patterns of media usage, technology and education.

A real strength in that respect is the breadth of different contexts from which insights are gleaned - from computer use for school projects in the home, networked relationships in remote school communities, to teens organising multiplayer online gaming events. There are plenty of situations that parents will identify with, just as many important points are made about different styles of parental and educational discipline. Such a cross section of multidisciplinary studies serves well to address the common misperception about `youth these days', and their supposedly mischievous, unruly use of technology - in the school classroom, at home and elsewhere. Above all, by showing that that `social participation and cultural identity' are central components of young people's learning experience (31), the book is a highly valuable contribution to both the media and educational scholarly fields.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting insight into teen's view of technology Feb. 7 2010
By Kevin Watt - Published on Amazon.com
Teens use technology in ways that I don't really understand. Massive amounts of SMSing (which this book argues have replaced the elaborately folded classroom-passed note), and things like that. TV use online allows light "comments" and a sense of community while doing something as isolationsist as watching T.V. And search abilities make it possible to talk about something after the fact, and have a friend go find the show later.

This book is an interesting view into this world.... a bit dry but pretty interesting so I was able to keep reading.

The first chapter is online free from the publisher here: [...]
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book Dec 16 2012
By Chris Henry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought this book for my daughter-n-law while she was taking college classes to become a teacher. So much cheaper than buying them from the college books stores. Good quality and price for this book.

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