Living in Lockdown – children’s digital lives during Covid-19

Thomas Enemark Lundtofte, Stine Liv Johansen

    Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


    In a time when children’s use of digital media and technology has been contested and widely debated, changes to living circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly turned these debates upside down. As schools and workplaces closed down, families had to balance remote work, education, entertainment, exercise, and social acquaintances from home and via digital technologies.

    This paper presents the results of a qualitative interview study with children and their parents carried out in relation to the first Danish lockdown in spring 2020. 20 children aged 3 to 12 were interviewed about their everyday lives, their digital habits, their social relations, and their general well-being during the lockdown. The interviews were carried out using online video conference software (e.g. Zoom), and the children had filled out so-called ‘time capsules’ where they could draw and write about their experiences beforehand. The project is part of a cross-European study.

    Results from the interview study points to significant differences between younger (up to 6-7 years old) and older (8 years and up) children. Young children had little contact with other children and were dependent on parents’ help and guidance in their use of digital technologies. Older children, who generally had more well-established digital practices, were able to use those for school work as well as maintaining social relations with other children.

    Children and parents experienced new ways of using digital technologies and while their encounters where not without conflict or frustration, some parents in the study expressed some level of surprise after realizing how their (primarily younger) children had had positive experiences with digital technologies.

    Families made use of digital technologies in a variety of ways to communicate with their extended family. In our study, we have seen examples of celebrations (birthdays, wedding anniversaries) via Facetime, as well as everyday activities like school work, reading aloud or playing card games through digital platforms. Generally, the children in our study had used digital technologies more than usual, both for communication and for entertainment purposes.

    The paper will present findings from the study and discuss how these may inform future policies on digital literacy and recommendations for schools and parents regarding children’s digital lives.
    Antal sider1
    StatusUdgivet - 2021
    BegivenhedSammenslutningen af medieforskere i Danmarks årsmøde 2021 - Hotel Storebælt, Nyborg, Danmark
    Varighed: 6. aug. 20216. aug. 2021


    KonferenceSammenslutningen af medieforskere i Danmarks årsmøde 2021
    LokationHotel Storebælt