Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Gregory Borchard

Second Committee Member

Kevin Stoker

Third Committee Member

David Nourse

Fourth Committee Member

Lawrence Mullen

Number of Pages



With ever-advancing technology and the ubiquity of smart devices, younger generations of children are growing up with access to smart mobile technology from birth. These digitally acculturated children ages 0-5, or digitods, are learning to make sense of the world in large part through sociocultural exchanges in the home. As these digital natives are habituated to mobile media, prevalent and accessible, they are also opened to data-mining and target-marketing as their online engagement signals algorithmic function. This study adds to our understanding of how digitods may be susceptible to algorithmic culture and strategic digital marketing, as familial modeling and mediated exchanges position them to be active media users. Looking through the lens of Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory, that identifies children’s cognitive development as a product of social interactions and collaborative dialogues, this study takes an inductive and reflexive qualitative approach, utilizing a series of in-depth interviews of parents, to examine dynamics in the home.


Algorithm Culture; Digitods; Familial Modeling; Internet Cognition; Mediated Exchanges; Sociocultural Learning


Communication | Sociology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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