Children's Media and Modernity: Film, Television and Digital Games

Ewan Kirkland

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


Throughout the modern era the figure of the child has consistently reflected adult concerns about industrialisation, urbanisation, technology, consumerism and capitalism. Children represent a symbolic retreat from modern life, culturally associated with fairy tales, medievalism, animals and nature. Yet children also represent the future, and are often identified with the most contemporary forms of popular culture. This book explores how products for children negotiate such contradictions, investigating the history and textuality of three major forms of twentieth-century media: cinema, television and digital games.

The close relationship between cinema and modernity, associated with urban entertainment, mass popular culture, technology and consumerism, means films identified with children and childhood frequently work to obscure or negotiate the form’s contemporary origins. In contrast, television’s incorporation into family home-centred post-war modernity, results in a more secure institution of children into the audience for this domestic medium. The latter decades of the twentieth century saw the promotion of home computers as educational tools for training future generations, capitalising upon positive alignments between children and technologies, while digital games’ narratives, aesthetics and merchandise established the new medium as a form of children’s culture. Each chapter is accompanied by case studies – including 'Wallace and Gromit', 'Teletubbies', 'Horrible Histories', 'Little Big Planet' and 'Disney Infinity' – illustrating the complex relationship between children’s culture and modernity.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages296
ISBN (Electronic)9781787074118
ISBN (Print)9783034319911
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Version of Record that has been published in Children's Media and Modernity: Film, Television and Digital Games by Ewan Kirkland. The original work can be found at: © Peter Lang AG, 2017. All rights reserved


  • children
  • cinema
  • digital games
  • film
  • media
  • modernity
  • television


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