Technology’s Child:

Digital Media’s Role in the Ages
and Stages of Growing Up

What happens to the little ones, the tweens, and the teenagers, when technology, ubiquitous in the world they inhabit, becomes a critical part of their lives? This timely book is a much-needed lifeline for anyone involved in caring for young people. It brings clarity to what we know about technology’s role in child development. Better yet, it provides guidance on how to use what we already know to help children of all ages make the most of their digital experiences.

From toddlers who are exploring their immediate environment to twenty-somethings who are exploring their place in society, technology inevitably and profoundly affects their development. Drawing on her expertise in developmental science and design research, Dr. Katie Davis describes what happens when child development and technology design interact, and how this interaction is complicated by children’s individual characteristics as well as social and cultural contexts.

Critically, she explains how a self-directed experience of technology—one initiated, sustained, and ended voluntarily—supports healthy child development, especially when it takes place within the context of community support, and how an experience that lacks these qualities can have the opposite effect.

Children’s experiences with technology—their “screen time” and digital social relationships—have become an inescapable aspect of growing up. For the first time, this book identifies the distinctions between different ages and stages of this engagement, and offers invaluable guidance for parents and teachers navigating the digital landscape, and for technology designers charting the way.

Technology’s Child is the book we’ve been waiting for — deeply informative about how connected technology impacts children’s sense of self, their relationships, and their learning. This thoughtful and deeply researched account will inform parents, educators, and (hopefully) designers, too.”

-Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and survive) in Their Digital World

“Katie Davis offers a deeply insightful and accessible overview of technology’s role in child development, from birth through late adolescence. Technology’s Child covers key issues that are of primary concern to researchers, parents, and, indeed, young people themselves.”

-Patti M. Valkenburg,
The Amsterdam School of Communication Research,
University of Amsterdam

“This is a rare gem of a book. Refusing to succumb to either technology panic or boosterism, Davis offers advice that is balanced, sensible, and grounded in deep listening to both young people and grown up experts.”

-Mizuko Ito, Director of the Connected Learning Lab, UC Irvine

“A valuable addition to the field. Davis pinpoints criteria for the types of positive interactions with technology that promote children’s healthy development while never losing sight of the critical role of parents, caregivers, and educators.”

-Steve Youngwood, CEO of Sesame Workshop

Technology's Child Book Cover

Writers in the Secret Garden:

Fanfiction, Youth, and new Forms of Mentoring

Co-authored with Cecilia Aragon (2019, MIT Press).

Drawing on ethnographic and data scientific methods, the book offers an in-depth examination of the novel ways young people support and learn from each other though participation in online fanfiction communities.

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“…the book challenges easy dismissals of how time spent by teens online comes at the expense of more ‘valuable’ forms of learning and socialization.”

– Henry Jenkins, coauthor of By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism

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“Work on learning outside of school has left out teaching. This crucially important book remedies that mistake with a vengeance. Aragon and Davis introduce us to a form of teaching uniquely suited to social networks: distributed mentoring.”

– James Paul Gee, Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University; author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

The App Generation book cover

The App Generation:

How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World

Co-authored with Howard Gardner (2013, Yale University Press).

The book explores the role of networked technologies in three developmentally salient areas of young people’s lives: their sense of personal identity, their experience of intimacy, and the way they express their imaginations.

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The App Generation deals with a crucial issue for our future, and it is a pioneering and prophetic work in its genre.”

—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

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“Most discussions about youth and technology tilt toward one extreme (digital wonder-kids!) or the other (perpetual distractions!). In The App Generation, Howard Gardner and Katie Davis combine academic research with personal reflections to provide a more nuanced perspective on both the challenges and opportunities for young people as they navigate the dynamic digital currents in today’s society.”

—Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab

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2013 Recommended Reading For Creative Leaders by Forbes (11/27/13)