The quantified child: Discourses and practices of dataveillance in different life stages
Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood
School of Arts and Humanities / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
This chapter examines the datafication of early childhood across differing life stages – the unborn, the baby, the toddler, the pre-schooler and the primary school child. Growing up in a quantified environment, children learn to adjust themselves to the supposedly objective knowledge provided by self-tracking technologies, and to compare their performances and bodies with those of others. Dataveillance operates through digital technologies such as apps, wearables and other Internet of Things devices that allow parents, schools and companies to track, quantify and analyse children’s practices, behaviour, health and moods. Data about the foetus are also captured. In this sense, the foetus has become a part of dataveillance and datafication processes that capture the online social activity of expectant parents and their unborn child. The practice of intimate surveillance also involves the tracking of children through baby wearables and other devices such as smart watches and fitbits for children.