The Domestication of Smart Toys: Perceptions and Practices of Young Children and Their Parents

  • Rita Brito
  • Patrícia DiasEmail author
  • Gabriela Oliveira
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


This chapter discusses how smart toys are being adopted in homes with young children (under 10), using domestication theory (Silverstone and Hirsch in Consuming Technologies: Media and information in domestic spaces. Routledge, London, 1992) as the framework. We report on a qualitative exploratory study aiming to understand the different domestication stages—appropriation, objectification, incorporation and conversion. Our method consisted of visits to a purposive sample of 21 families, combining interviews, activities and non-participant observation. Our findings reveal that parents have mixed perceptions about smart toys—they value their educational potential but fear an excess of technological play and consider them expensive. We found smart toys in a few homes, observing early stages of domestication, with smart toys becoming part of an “ecosystem” of other toys and activities, but still with a “novelty” status.


Smart toys IoToys (Internet of Toys) Young children Domestication Perceptions 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polytechnic Institute of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Catholic University of PortugalLisbonPortugal

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