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Keywords:

  • text production;
  • social networking;
  • digital literacy practices

Abstract

Social networking can currently be described as a mainstream youth activity, with almost half of 8–17-year-old children, who have access to the Internet, claiming to participate. As an activity it is of particular interest to literacy educators because it is enacted through the production and consumption of text. However, a growing body of research is finding that while young people transfer knowledge and practices across the sites that they occupy, children's text production using informal digital literacy practices and children's school-based text production can be regarded as increasingly disparate activities. This paper draws from a current research project that is exploring three pre-teenage children's text production in social networking sites. Here one child's Bebo profile page is presented and discussed in order that the forces that play upon her text production can be identified. Through consideration of these forces, a framework for considering children's text production in informal digital environments is suggested. This framework steps away from the existing frameworks currently found within the Primary National Strategy for Literacy and Mathematics and instead requires that children's texts are viewed in relation to structure and agency.