Working Paper

A Research Agenda to Examine the Political Economy of Digital Childhood



Date published

16 August, 2022


This review investigates how the historical concept of a political economy of childhood might be usefully applied to children growing up in the digital age with a view to establishing an innovative research agenda. The review first defines what a political economy of digital childhood has meant historically in order to map working definitions. It then characterises research into the differing political economies of:

  • communications and the media
  • children and consumerism,
  • digital consumption,
  • and the family and education to see how such traditions might be either brought together or kept apart.

It argues that the research arena of digital childhood sits at a confluence of these academic research traditions bringing together studies of the political economy of the media and of childhood. The paper then reviews contemporary research into the political economy of digital childhood and concludes by offering areas for further research and enquiry structured around the key themes of: markets; institutions and platforms; and value.

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Series type

'Discussion' series looking at conceptual challenges and aimed at the scholarly community


Suggested citation

Sefton-Green, J., Dezuanni, M., & Pangrazio, L., 2022 A Research Agenda to Examine the Political Economy of Digital Childhood. Digital Child Working Paper 2022-06, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, Brisbane, Australia

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