Onto week 2 on Childhood in a Digital Age from the OU.

Video: Children’s Development

How is digital technology changing children’s relationships and shaping their online identities? Looking at online/offline relationships and connectivity – what is it doing to children’s development, and what’s positive/problematic ‘compared to’ face-to-face relationships.

Video: Homo Interneticus

Drawing upon the work of Aleks Krotoski, Susan Greenfield, and Sherry Turkle, I think this is a segment of ‘The Virtual Revolution‘ (2009 or 2010?), but for some reason the video’s aren’t playing, so I’m drawing on the transcript!

Children thrive on forming connections with other people in their immediate social environments, and psychological theories have consistently reinforced the importance of children’s social and cultural environment in allowing them to communicate and interact successfully.”

Article: Social media: positive, negative or just different?

Linked to a 2012 article ‘The Effects of Social Media on Children



Article: Assessing Positives & Negatives

via this Huffington Post article.



Article: Friendship Made Easy?

With access to a wider range of connections, is it really changing the nature of children’s friendships:

Friendships made through coincidence and proximity may offer a different experience to online friendships. Virtual friendships cut across boundaries and can be more immediate so being online is creating a different type of friendship requiring a new skill set.

Video: What is a friend?

Robin Dunbar = Dunbar’s number – is it possible to only have 148 friends, or is it even less? How do you define friend? How much time/geographically, how long do you remain connected?

See also ‘The Limits of Friendship

Article: Play in an Online World

See Lydia Plowman video – allow children to explore with parental guidance. It’s not just about educational benefits, but also space for play (should this be allowed independently?)

Article: What is a Virtual World? 

A range of definitions, including platforms such as Moshi Monsters, Club Penguin, Habbo Hotel – which makes many parents feel safer in allowing their children to play (platforms stress the safety aspects of the site, the moderation, etc), rather than on the more general social networks [which legally, under 13, they shouldn’t be on]. Many buy into the idea of ‘educational games’…

Online Identity on Direction Sign - Green Arrow on a Grey Background.

Article: Forming an Identity

Do online spaces allow children the space to experiment, creating/reinventing their online identity, etc.

Children identified freedom, self-expression, creativity and interaction as essential ingredients of a virtual world. They wanted an avatar which reflected their religion, culture and interests and they wanted a space away from adults where they could play with their identity through dressing up, could exchange views with others and could ‘rehearse having responsibility for looking after things’ (Jackson et al., 2008, p. 46).

Article: Experimentation and the Virtual Self

Exploration of identity, especially in younger years, is nothing new, but virtual/online worlds are offering new opportunities, through a range of avatars, etc. playing with aspects of their identity, from appearance to politics.

Article: Identity and Social Behaviours

Optimists – freedom to explore; pessimists – misrepresentation (whether intentionally or not):

Palfrey and Gasser (2008) suggest that children do not distinguish between their ‘online’ and ‘offline’ identities. Increasingly, the identity of just about anyone living in a digital era is a synthesis of real-space and online expressions of self.

Be aware of inbuilt restrictions – e.g. is not a free space to create new identities, as still restrained by their offline world, and the content that friends post about them. A ‘disclosure decision model’ balances what is given, with what is received, whether that is social approval, intimacy, or relief of distress.

Article: Navigating the Digital Landscape

Summarising the ways that children’s lives are being impacted, positively and negatively, by the digital.

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