Skip navigation
Hardcover | ISBN: 9780262013369 | 440 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 10 b&w photos, 3 figures| October 2009
Paperback | $20.00 Short | £13.95 | ISBN: 9780262518543 | 440 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 10 b&w photos, 3 figures| January 2013

Essential Info

Of Related Interest


Conventional wisdom about young people’s use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today’s teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networking sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youths’ social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings—at home, in after-school programs, and in online spaces.

Integrating twenty-three case studies—which include Harry Potter podcasting, video-game playing, music sharing, and online romantic breakups—in a unique collaborative authorship style, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out is distinctive for its combination of in-depth description of specific group dynamics with conceptual analysis.

About the Authors

Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist who studies new media use, particularly among young people, in Japan and the United States, and a Professor in Residence at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Becky Herr-Stephenson is a Research Fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher with the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Dan Perkel is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley earning a degree in Information Management and Systems from the School of Information, with a Designated Emphasis in New Media from the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Christo Sims is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley's School of Information and a researcher for the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.


"While the in-depth description of this framework would in itself value the time spent reading this book, there is much more in it. It is highly suggested reading to anyone interested to know more about kids’ everyday informal learning practices with new media (especially teachers, parents, and policy-makers)."—Fabio Giglietto, Information, Communication and Society


“Finally a book that provides a deeply grounded and nuanced description of today’s digital youth culture and practices as they negotiate their identity, their peer-based relationships, and their relationships with adults. Then, building on this rich and diverse set of ethnographies, the authors constructed a powerful analytic framework which provides new conceptual lenses to make sense of the emerging digital media landscape. This book is a must for anyone interested in youth culture, learning, and new media.”
John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation, and Former Director of Xerox PARC

"Through their meticulous ethnographic exploration of emerging media practices in everyday life, Mizuko Ito and her colleagues paint a vivid portrait of young people's diverse modes of participation with new media. Over and again, this thought-provoking book challenges adult preconceptions and traditional preoccupations, insisting that we recognize the values, concerns, and literacies of today's youth."
Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and Political Science

"Mizuko Ito and her team have put together an extraordinarily perceptive series of essays about what it means to grow up in a digital era. They cut through the myths that cloud our conversations about 'kids these days' and what they are doing during long hours online and on mobile devices. Every parent, teacher, and librarian should read this book cover-to-cover. This is crucially important research, presented in clear and accessible prose."
John Palfrey, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, author of Born Digital 

"This is a beautifully written and extraordinarily rich account of perhaps the most important challenge cyberspace gives us: understanding how it is changing our kids, and how it might change our understanding of literacy. We've had clues about both before. But this is a critically important and deeply informed contribution to this essential subject of learning."
—Lawrence Lessig, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford University, author of The Future of Ideas and Remix