Playing together:

The importance of joint engagement in the design of technology for children


In the design of technology for children, many products focus on providing content that is both engaging and appropriate for children at a given age and developmental stage. However, less attention is paid to the context in which children tend to engage with digital products. When focusing on children 13 and younger, context often includes social interaction with parents, caregivers and friends, which provides many opportunities to design digital experiences that support co-play and joint media engagement (JME).

In this workshop, we will be discussing real world case studies, as well as theoretical approaches used by researchers, designers, and academics to design technology for children that includes and fosters co-play and joint media engagement experiences. Our discussion will be centered not only on understanding what are co-engagement experiences, but also how these are produced and why these are important for the child end user. The expected outcome of the workshop will be a set of principles, examples, and guidelines for digital media developers to consider when designing rich digital experiences that take into consideration not only the child, but the context for engagement as well.