Screening language acquisition skills in a mediated childhood

Author Identifier

Kylie J Stevenson

ORCID : 0000-0002-7819-1391

Lelia Green

ORCID : 0000-0003-4587-4679

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Young children's rights in a digital world




School of Arts and Humanities / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Australian Research Council

Grant Number

ARC Number : DP150104734

Grant Link



Stevenson, K. J., Green, L., Holloway, D., & Jaunzems, K. (2021). Screening language acquisition skills in a mediated childhood. In D. Holloway, M. Willson, K. Murcia, C. Archer & F. Stocco (Eds.), Young children’s rights in a digital world (pp. 93-106). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65916-5_8


In a wide-ranging research project focused on the digital media consumption of very young children (aged 0–5), and the family-based construction and support of these skills, one child’s digital competence was particularly evident. The youngest member of a dual location household spanning three generations, raised by the parents, and by grandparents who live nearby, Lavinia is bilingual. The parents use English as their working language but, along with the grandparents, use Mandarin at home. This paper draws upon an observational ethnographic case study (Holloway & Green, 2013) informed by play-based research engagement with the 2-year old Lavinia, alongside interviews with her mother. This study investigates how family practices and attitudes impact very young children’s digital engagement in Australia. Lavinia is an ardent fan of Peppa Pig, and during the observation, researchers watched her play Peppa Pig in Mandarin on an iPad while setting up the live stream of the same episode from the internet to the television. Lavinia achieved this entire system of media retrieval and replay without adult intervention and support. She effectively created a tutorial for practicing Mandarin–English bilingual comprehension using Peppa Pig. Lavinia’s clear desire to learn bilingually reflects her parents’ priorities and has also prompted her parents to enrich her play activities with supplementary media resources and experiences.



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