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Connected Kids: Socialisation in a Changing Media Environment

Connected Kids: Socialisation in a Changing Media Environment

The conditions under which adolescents form relationships with other people and position themselves within different social contexts are changing in the course of mediatisation. Media developments and the increasing use of media in families, peer groups, school etc. have an impact on the actor constellations and communicative practices within these social contexts and contribute to their dissolution of boundaries.

Against this backdrop, the project addresses the consequences of changing media environments for the socialisation process of children and adolescents. Classical socialisation agents such as family, peer group or school are considered as communicative figurations on which young people actively exert influence and within which the media play an important role as communication channels, but also as subject areas or thematic fields.

The project focuses on the role of the media in the negotiation processes regarding belonging and dissociation as well as the changes over time. The starting point is the family as the first and most important instance of socialisation.

The project is a cooperation between the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kammerl) and the HBI and was approved by the German Research Foundation in 2018. In 2021, the project team received funding for three more years, which will enable them to continue the longitudinal study and conduct further research into how family life changes over time and what significance the use of digital media in particular has for shaping the relationships between family members.
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Project Description

Socialisation research looks at the process by which individuals become members of their society. In this context, the project examines the consequences of a changing media environment for the processes of growing up. With the approach of communicative figurations, the project aims to further develop the traditional socialisation perspective in which different socialisation agents (e.g. family, peer groups, school) are considered. In the project, these agents are considered as communicatively constructed "social domains". Within these social domains, media are becoming increasingly important as communication channels and occasions. Their function for interactions and especially for processes of belonging and dissociation in the communicative figurations of family, peer group and school is of particular interest. Due to its special role in the regulation of children's media repertoires, the family is given special consideration as the first and one of the most important social domains in which socialisation takes place. The main questions of the project are:
  • How do individuals use media to establish their position within the dimension of closeness and distance in their social reference group?
  • What role do children's media repertoires and communication practices play in social embeddedness within different social contexts?
Families with different media-related attitudes are examined over several years in the context of a qualitative panel study. Two cohorts are considered that were at transitional stages at the beginning of the study (transition to primary school and to secondary school respectively) and thus were about to enter a new stage of life that requires repositioning in a new environment. The panel design allows for different types of comparisons, such as:
  • Changes in media use and changes in relationships with family and peers.
  • Comparisons of children within each cohort
  • Comparisons between the two cohorts
The study is based on a sample of 32 families from northern and southern Germany. In addition to the children, one parent was also interviewed in each case. Two surveys were conducted until 2021. Furthermore, we conducted an ad hoc survey with a sub-sample (12 families from the older cohort) on the situation during the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020.

The project is a cooperation of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürberg (Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kammerl) and the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut and was approved by the German Research Foundation.

Further information on the project:


Kammerl, R.; Lampert, C.; Müller, J.; Rechlitz, M.; Potzel, K. (2021): Mediatisierte Sozialisationsprozesse erforschen. Methodologische Implikationen [Exploring Mediatised Socialisation Processes. Methodological Implications]. In: Wolf, K. D., Rummler, K.; Bettinger, P. und Aßmann, S. (eds.): Jahrbuch Medienpädagogik 16: Medienpädagogik in Zeiten einer tiefgreifenden Mediatisierung [Yearbook Media Education 16: Media Education in Times of Profound Mediatisation], pp. 185-209 https://doi.org/10.21240/mpaed/jb16/2021.02.24.X

Kammerl, R.; Müller, J.; Lampert, C.; Rechlitz, M.; Potzel, K. (2020): Kommunikative Figurationen – ein theoretisches Konzept zur Beschreibung von Sozialisationsprozessen und deren Wandel in mediatisierten Gesellschaften? [Communicative Figurations - A Theoretical Concept for the Description of Socialisation Processes and Their Change in Mediatised Societies?]. In: van Ackeren, I; Bremer, H.; Kessl, F. et al. (eds.): Bewegungen. Beiträge zum 26. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Erziehungswissenschaft [Movements. Contributions to the 26th Congress of the German Society for Educational Science]. Leverkusen-Opladen: Verlag Barbara Budrich.


"If I'm Lucky, I'll Get It Explained. Otherwise I Have to Watch It on Youtube", presentation by J. Müller, K. Potzel, M. Rechlitz, C. Lampert and R. Kammerl at the Autumn Conference of the DGfE Media Education Section, 26-27 September 2019 in Zurich.

“Mom, Can I Have Your Phone?” The Role of Smart Screens for Children’s Socialisation and Everyday Family Life”, presentation by K. Potzel, M. Rechlitz, R. Kammerl, C. Lampert and J. Müller at the conference “Children and Adolescents in the Era of SmartScreens: Risks, Threats and Opportunities Reloaded” of the ECREA section Children, Youth and Media (CYM) on 19 September 2019 in Salamanca.

"Haltungen als Ausdruck kommunikativer Figurationen in familialen Kontexten" [Attitudes as an Expression of Communicative Figurations in Family Contexts], presentation by J. Müller, R. Kammerl and K. Potzel at the annual conference of the Commission for Qualitative Educational and Biographical Research of the DGfE, 18-20 September 2019 in Nuremberg.

“(Deep) Mediatized Family Life: The Role of Media in Parent-Child Interaction”, presentation by C. Lampert, M. Rechlitz, R. Kammerl and J. Müller at the conference “Reconceptualising Early Childhood Literacies” on 7 March 2019 in Manchester.

„Sozialisation in einer sich wandelnden Medienumgebung. Medienpädagogik in Zeiten tiefgreifender Mediatisierung” [Socialisation in a Changing Media Environment. Media Education in Times of Profound Mediatisation], presentation by R. Kammerl, M. Rechlitz, J. Müller and C. Lampert at the autumn conference of the DGfE section Media Education on 20 September 2018 in Bremen. https://blogs.uni-bremen.de/sektionstagung/.

“In Bewegung: Sozialisation und Erziehung in Zeiten tiefgreifender Mediatisierung” [On the Move: Socialisation and Education in Times of Profound Mediatisation], panel by R. Kammerl, C. Lampert, M. Rechlitz, L. Rosenthal and L. Wartberg Wartberg at the DGfE Congress "Bewegungen" [Movements] on 20 March 2018 in Essen. http://www.dgfe2018.de/

Project Information


Duration: 2018-2023

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Third party

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG

Cooperation Partner

Prof. Dr. Rudolf Kammerl
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Contact person

Dr. Claudia Lampert
Senior Researcher Media Socialisation & Health Communication

Dr. Claudia Lampert

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 92
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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