The Portuguese programme ‘one laptop per child’ and its impact on families: a study on parents’ and children’s perspectives

Sara Pereira


This paper intends to present and reflect upon some of the findings emerging from a research project entitled “Navigating with ‘Magalhães’: Study on the Impact of Digital Media on Schoolchildren” that was conducted at the Communication and Society Research Centre at the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. The project focused on the politics of the governmental programme “One Laptop per Child” part of the Portuguese Technological Plan for Education, and the uses of the “Magalhães” computer, and other media, by children aged 8-10 years. This paper analyses the impact of this particular public policy on digital literacy of young children based mostly on the perspectives of parents and their modes of mediation. It also debates parents’ and children’s perspectives on parental rules on computer and Internet usage. It ends by concluding that the impact of this programme occurred mainly at the level of access rather than the social and educational uses and practices. It also highlights the importance of family in the way children access and use ICT.


one laptop per child, schoolchildren, ICT uses, digital inclusion, parental mediation

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