Young people's increasing use of interactive media has led to assertions about possible consequences for education. Rather than following assertions, we argue for theory-driven empirical research as a basis for education renewal. First, we review the existing empirical research, concluding that there is almost no theory-driven research available. Subsequently we discuss sensitizing concepts as a perspective for research on the relation between interactive media and youth culture. These concepts, derived from the literature, include insecurity, reflexivity, affinity spaces and shape-shifting portfolio people. With this perspective we examine social and cultural functions of interactive media within contemporary Western youth culture. This examination leads to questions for education and a subsequent plan for future research, with a focus on diversity among students and the development of local cultures. This entails studying both the motives as well as the actual use of interactive media, which should be the concern of educational practices.