Playful Subversions: Young Children and Tablet Use

Isabel Froes, Susana Tosca

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Drawing on data from empirical studies of small children (4- to 8-year-olds) using tablets in educational settings, we explore the ways they resist the expected use of the various applications in order to invent their own forms of interaction. We propose the category of playful subversion to conceptualize the different kinds of technology appropriation and the pleasures of playful tinkering. We identify four aspects of playful subversion in relation to tablets – invention, definition, assignation, and performance – and argue for a less normative understanding of children’s interactions with technology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)39–58
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Children
  • Playfulness
  • Subversion
  • Tablets
  • Technology

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