Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist of technology use, examining children and youth’s changing relationships to media and communications. She is professor in residence and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine. She is director of the Connected Learning Lab, and chairs the MacArthur Connected Learning Research Network. Her co-authored book, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Youth Living and Learning with New Media describes new opportunities for interest-driven learning fueled by games, social media, and digital tools. In Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, Ito and her colleagues in the Connected Learning Research Network map out how education can embrace today’s technology to make meaningful learning available to all young people. She is co-founder of Connected Camps, a benefit corporation that provides online creative learning in Minecraft for kids in all walks of life.
This study investigates the role of mass media in the socialization of young children through ethnographic research in Japan and the US on how parents and their children engage with media such as television, videos, and video games. What is the role of children's mass media in the dynamics of everyday family life, and how are these dynamics related to categories such as age, class, gender, and cultural difference? What policies and parental engagements with children's media work against the negative effects of consumer culture? Relying on multi-sited ethnographic methods, the study analyzes how transnational media manifest in different national contexts and the micro-politics of the home, providing concrete empirical grounding for policy and parenting debates regarding children and media.