Understanding media development: A framework and case study

Barbara J. O'Keefe*, Sean Zehnder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The ongoing evolution of communications technologies and systems creates significant challenges for any effort to understand the role of media in the lives of children and adolescents. The dominant paradigm in studying the relationship between children and media has been one of media effects. However, we propose a reciprocal relationship in which human capabilities and motivation affect the development of media, while media affect human development. In order to investigate this reciprocal relationship, we need not only theories of human development (which are already well established); we also need a theoretical framework for media development, one which has a strong human factors component to it. Without such a framework, the media side of our developmental research will be limited to mere description of a particular local media practice at a particular moment. The purpose of this paper is to sketch part of such a framework and offer an example of its application in a study of the evolution of interactive games.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-740
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number6 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - 2004


  • Children and media
  • Interactivity
  • Media development
  • Media perception and cognition
  • Video game studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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