Concluding the Internet of Toys

  • Giovanna MascheroniEmail author
  • Donell Holloway
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


The concluding chapter reviews the key themes as set out in the introduction and in the contributions to this volume. Here, Mascheroni and Holloway revisit the concepts of datafication and surveillance capitalism in order to emphasise critical questions and map out possible trajectories that future research in the field could address and pursue. The discussion of surveillance capitalism emphasises the double positioning of children in the market as both digital consumers and digital labourers. The chapter also makes the argument that the social and political consequences of datafication extend beyond privacy issues to the transformation of the very conditions under which citizenship is enacted.


Internet of Toys Surveillance capitalism Datafication Privacy Citizenship 


  1. Andrejevic, M. (2014). Surveillance in the big data era. In Emerging pervasive information and communication technologies (PICT) (pp. 55–69). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Baraniuk, C. (2016, December 6). Call for privacy probes over Cayla doll and i-Que toys. BBC News. Retrieved from
  3. Barassi, V. (2017). BabyVeillance? Expecting parents, online surveillance and the cultural specificity of pregnancy apps. Social Media + Society, 3(2), 1–10. Scholar
  4. Blum-Ross, A., & Livingstone, S. (2017). “Sharenting”, parent blogging and the boundaries of the digital self. Popular Communication, 15(2), 110–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cheney-Lippold, J. (2017). We are data: Algorithms and the making of our digital selves. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crawford, K., & Schultz, J. (2014). Big data and due process: Toward a framework to redress predictive privacy harms. Boston College Law Review, 55(1), 93–128.Google Scholar
  7. De Certeau, M. (1984). The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Ellis, L. (2011). Towards a contemporary sociology of children and consumption. Durham: Durham University.Google Scholar
  9. Eubanks, V. (2018). Automating inequality: How high-tech tools profile, police and punish the poor. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gangadharan, S. P. (2017). The downside of digital inclusion: Expectations and experiences of privacy and surveillance among marginal internet users. New Media & Society, 19(4), 597–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grimes, S. M. (2008). Kids’ ad play: Regulating children’s advergames in the converging media context. International Journal of Communication, Law and Policy, 8, 161–369.Google Scholar
  12. Harris, M. (2017, December 27). 72 M data points collected on children in spite of COPPA. App Developer Magazine. Retrieved from
  13. Hartley, J. (2010). Silly citizenship. Critical Discourse Studies, 7(4), 233–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hintz, A., Dencik, L., & Wahl-Jorgensen, K. (2017). Digital citizenship and surveillance society: Introduction. International Journal of Communication, 2017(11), 731–739.Google Scholar
  15. Holloway, D. (in press). Surveillance capitalism and children’s data: The Internet of Toys and Things (IoTTs) for children. Media International Australia. Google Scholar
  16. Holloway, D., & Green, L. (2016). The internet of toys. Communication Research and Practice, 2(4), 506–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Isin, E., & Ruppert, E. (2015). Being digital citizens. London: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  18. Jennings, K. (2014, July 10). How your doctor and insurer will know your secrets—Even if you never tell them. Business Insider Australia. Retrieved from
  19. Leach, W. R. (2011). Land of desire: Merchants, power, and the rise of a new American culture. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  20. Leaver, T. (2015). Born digital? Presence, privacy, and intimate surveillance. In J. Hartley & W. Qu (Eds.), Re-orientation: Translingual transcultural transmedia studies in narrative, language, identity, and knowledge (pp. 149–160). Shanghai: Fudan University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Leaver, T. (2017). Intimate surveillance: Normalizing parental monitoring and mediation of infants online. Social Media + Society, 3(2), 1–10. Scholar
  22. Lupton, D. (2016). The quantified self. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lupton, D., & Williamson, B. (2017). The datafied child: The dataveillance of children and implications for their rights. New Media & Society, 19(5), 780–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lyon, D. (2017). Digital citizenship and surveillance| surveillance culture: Engagement, exposure, and ethics in digital modernity. International Journal of Communication, 11, 19.Google Scholar
  25. Madden, M. (2017). Privacy, security, and digital inequality: How technology experiences and resources vary by socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. New York: Data & Society. Retrieved from Accessed 23 March 2018.
  26. Marwick, A. E., & boyd, d. (2018). Understanding privacy at the margins. International Journal of Communication, 12, 1157–1165.Google Scholar
  27. Mascheroni, G., & Holloway, D. (in press). The quantified child: Discourses and practices of dataveillance in different life stages. In O. Erstad, R. Flewitt, B. Kümmerling-Meibauer, & I. S. Pires Pereira (Eds.), Routledge handbook of digital literacies in early childhood. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Minion, L. (2018, April 11). Healthcare suffers almost a quarter of data breaches, as reports skyrocket under mandatory notification scheme. Healthcare IT. Retrieved from
  29. Montgomery, K. (2002). Digital kids: The new on-line children’s consumer culture. In C. Von Feilitzen & U. Carlsson (Eds.), Children, young people and media globalization (pp. 189–208). Göteborg: Nordicom, The UNESCO International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media.Google Scholar
  30. Montgomery, K. (2015). Children’s media culture in a big data world. Journal of Children and Media, 9(2), 266–271. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Moore, M. (2016). Tech giants and civic power. King’s College London, Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power.Google Scholar
  32. Osborne, C. (2018, May 1). Healthcare was a top target for ransomware families in 2017. ZDNet. Retrieved from
  33. Rhoen, M. (2016). Beyond consent: Improving data protection through consumer protection law. Internet Policy Review, 5(1). Google Scholar
  34. Ruppert, E., Isin, E., & Bigo, D. (2017). Data politics. Big Data & Society, 4(2). Scholar
  35. Singleton, M. (2017). Germany bans smartwatches for kids and asks parents to destroy them. The Verge. Retrieved from
  36. Steeves, V. (2006). It’s not child’s play: The online invasion of children’s privacy. University of Ottawa Law and Technology Journal, 3(1), 169–188.Google Scholar
  37. Steeves, V. (2012). Hide and seek: Surveillance of young people on the internet. In K. Haggerty & D. Lyon (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of surveillance studies (pp. 342–360). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Third, A., & Collin, P. (2016). Rethinking (children’s and young people’s) citizenship through dialogues on digital practice. In A. McCosker, S. Vivienne, & A. Johns (Eds.), Negotiating digital citizenship: Control, contest and culture (pp. 41–59). London: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  39. Turner, R. (2017, September 12). Owlet Smart Sock prompts warning for parents, fears over babies’ sensitive health data. ABC News. Retrieved from
  40. van Dijck, J. (2014). Datafication, dataism and dataveillance: Big data between scientific paradigm and ideology. Surveillance & Society, 12(2), 197–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wakefield, J. (2017, November 17). Germany bans children’s smartwatches. BBC News. Retrieved from
  42. Walker, H. (2017, February 18). Terrified German parents urged to destroy doll ‘that can spy on children’. Daily Express. Retrieved from
  43. Zuboff, S. (2015). Big other: Surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationCatholic University of the Sacred HeartMilanItaly
  2. 2.School of Arts and HumanitiesEdith Cowan UniversityMt LawleyAustralia

Personalised recommendations