Parental Mediation, YouTube’s Networked Public, and the “Baby-iPad” Encounter: Mobilizing Digital Dexterity
This study collected a sample of YouTube videos in which parents recorded their young children utilizing mobile touch-screen devices. Focusing on the videos that received the greatest number of views and comments, the paper analyzes the ways in which babies’ “digital dexterity” is coded and understood in terms of contested notions of “naturalness” and the ways in which the display of these capabilities are produced for a networked public. This reading of the “baby-iPad encounter” helps expand existing scholarly concepts such as parental mediation and technology domestication. Recruiting several theoretical frameworks, the paper seeks to go beyond concerns of mobile devices and immobile children by analyzing children’s digital dexterity not only as a kind of mobility but also as a set of reciprocal mobilizations that work across domestic, virtual, and publically networked spaces.