Leaver, Tama

Curtin University

Tama Leaver is a Professor of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia and expert media commentator. He is the Vice-President of the (international) Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child.

His research interests include digital childhood and infancy online, visual social media , social media, digital death, mobile gaming and the changing landscape of media distribution. He has published in a number of journals including Popular CommunicationMedia International AustraliaFirst MondayComparative Literature StudiesSocial Media and SocietyCommunication Research and Practice and the Fibreculture journal. He is the author of Artificial Culture: Identity, Technology and Bodies (Routledge, 2012); co-editor of An Education in Facebook? Higher Education and the World’s Largest Social Network (Routledge, 2014) with Mike Kent; and Social, Casual and Mobile Games: The Changing Gaming Landscape (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016) with Michele Willson; co-author of Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures (Polity, 2020) with Tim Highfield and Crystal Abidin; and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Digital Media and Children (Routledge, 2021) with  Lelia Green, Donell Holloway, Kylie Stevenson and Leslie Haddon.

He has been awarded teaching awards from the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, and in 2012 received a national Australian Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities and the Arts.


  • Editorial
    Toys: quintessentially the objects of childhood, their role in culture is anything but child’s play. Toys offer a site for young children to learn anything and everything from the commodification of time, through gendered and racial positioning of subjectivities (or the subversion of these positionings), through to social expectations around reading, sharing, and relative wealth and access....Read more
  • Articles
    Introduction Author Arthur C. Clarke famously argued that in science fiction literature “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (Clarke). On 30 November 2022, technology company OpenAI publicly released their Large Language Model (LLM)-based chatbot ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer), and instantly it was hailed as...Read more
  • Articles
    Introduction Many social media tools and services are free to use. This fact often leads users to the mistaken presumption that the associated data generated whilst utilising these tools and services is without value. Users often focus on the social and presumed ephemeral nature of communication – imagining something that...Read more
  • Feature
    The first two months of 2021 saw Google and Facebook ‘go dark’ in terms of news content on the Australia versions of their platforms. In January, Google ran a so-called “experiment” which removed or demoted current news in the search results available to a segment of Australian users. While Google was only darkened for some, in February news on Facebook went completely dark, with the company...Read more
  • Editorial
    As the global number of human internet users passes 3 billion, and the number of things with unique IP addresses passes an estimated 15 billion, the widespread establishment of computational technologies signals a reality in which digital media are now firmly embedded, increasingly ordinary, and often invisible within cultural and material life. The digital spaces we inhabit and experience...Read more
  • Editorial
    Children's engagement with blocks is a vital and joyful aspect of childhood shared across the world. While the physical manipulation of blocks is a core part of children's development (i.e., LEGO), there are also online platforms and apps available that provide virtual play experiences with blocks (i.e., digital building apps, virtual worlds). The open-ended nature of block play allows...Read more