Infants, interfaces, and intermediation: digital parenting and the production of 'iPad baby' videos on YouTube

Bjorn Nansen, Darshana Jayemanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
484 Downloads (Pure)


We investigate the ways young children’s use of mobile touchscreen interfaces is both understood and shaped by parents through the production of YouTube videos and discussions in associated comment threads. This analysis expands on, and departs from, theories of parental mediation, which have traditionally been framed through a media effects approach in analyzing how parents regulate their children’s use of broadcast media, such as television, within family life. We move beyond the limitations of an effects framing through more culturally and materially oriented theoretical lenses of mediation, considering the role mobile interfaces now play in the lives of infants through analysis of the ways parents intermediate between domestic spaces and networked publics. We propose the concept of intermediation, which builds on insights from critical interface studies as well as cultural industries literature to help account for these expanded aspects of digital parenting. Here, parents are not simply moderating children’s media use within the home, but instead operating as an intermediary in contributing to online representations and discourses of children’s digital culture. This intermediary role of parents engages with ideological tensions in locating notions of “naturalness:” the iPad’s gestural interface or the child’s digital dexterity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-603
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Issue number4
Early online date17 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2016


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