Taming the Game: Children’s Constructive Use of Social and Communicative Context When Playing Scary Computer Games

Ingrid Kjørstad


Within recent childhood research, children are considered actors and interpreters of their everyday life, including the use of media. The research cited in this article builds on this perspective, and focuses on children’s experiences with computer gaming. As for computer games, analysts point towards the need to include the context of gaming, in addition to the different elements of the games, into gaming analysis. The article therefore elaborates on the importance of the gaming context, by applying a domestication research perspective. The article presents results from a qualitative research project on children and gaming. Different elements constituting gaming contexts were discussed with 11-year-olds to identify if and why some gaming experiences were considered scarier than others. The research project concludes that the social aspects of the gaming context in this sense are very important and appreciated. In addition, children actively manipulate elements of the gaming context to reduce the “fear factor”.


action; children; computer games; domestication; game studies

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