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[Article] Wired Kids: Raising the Digital Natives #DigitalParenting

Image Credit: RGB Stock
Image Credit: RGB Stock

Interesting article highlighted by @pmphillips re Raising the Digital Natives (digital native being a term I’m uncomfortable with)

Questions have been raised about the effects of technology use at a young age and the potential impact that this may have on a child’s brain development. On a social level, the use of technology by children may inhibit their social development and makes it less likely that they will recognise human emotion, presumably leading to difficulty in feeling empathy or compassion towards others. Beyond basic development issues comes the issue of forming individual identity. Where before humans were only expected to develop a single working identity they are now expected to develop and maintain two—one in the physical world, and one in cyberspace.

This poses an issue on two levels: the first being the child’s own expectation of themselves in developing and maintaining two identities, the second being the expectation of them by others in the physical and digital spaces. On one hand, the digital space consists of a community whose members require an individual to be extroverted, attractive, interesting; on the other hand, the realities of the physical space demand the individual to be compliant, civilised, and ‘normal’. This split in identity isn’t realistic to maintain, and what may end up happening is that the more prominent, appealing identity ends up dominating and putting the other one at risk. In other words, a child, not yet having fully developed mentally or socially, will be far more vulnerable to criticism and may choose an identity that they feel will be accepted by those in the online community—abandoning the real life identity they hold separately in physical life.

Read full article, and check out the Digital Citizen Pledge.


10 Stories About #DigitalParenting 28/11/13

oosxA18Keeping track of a number of stories relating to ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age‘ in the news:

  • Give Your Child More Screen-Time, Here’s Why: Parents and educators are often inundated with information that cautions them against allowing their children more than a certain amount of screen-time, suggesting that it fosters anti-social behavior and impacts their ability to learn. Yet studies have found that it depends on the type of content, not the device usage itself, that truly matters. (Whilst others suggest to take some time out)
  • Stop Sharing on Thanksgiving: This year, let’s take a day off from sharing our every thought and feeling with the world. Give thanks for the people in your life by giving them your undivided attention. The most meaningful thing we have to give is our time. Stop broadcasting and start listening.
  • The ‘Facebook’ Town Square: So, now Facebook is serving as the old town square, where people spread the word, get up on the occasional soapbox, and — most dangerously — visually place someone in a stockade when they have wronged the owner of the Facebook account. No judge or jury needed, just the ability to coerce someone into giving up their dignity and holding up a sign stating their transgressions.
  • Kids and Life Online: Are Parents’ Fears Warranted?: For the parents of “digital native” children, the fact that their kids spend so much of their lives online is often the source of serious consternation. For starters, they worry they’re raising a generation of sallow, unpleasant, disconnected creatures who are fearful of emotions, physical contact and possibly even sunlight. They also wonder if playing Angry Birds for hours on end is sharpening their kids’ minds or turning them to mush; if texting 60 times per day is teaching their kids vital communication skills or turning them away from real-world relationships; if Facebook is a healthy venue for social interaction or an overflowing cauldron of bullies and miscreants. Etc. Most of all, though, parents worry that the digital universe is a dangerous place for their children to wander unsupervised.
  • Creating An Army of Digital Defenders To Stop Child Sexual Exploitation: This week, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, issued an op-ed in the UK’s Daily Mail outlining the new proactive steps Google has committed to take in response to the accessibility of child pornography links via mainstream search platforms. Google stands alongside Facebook, Microsoft and many other technology companies that have stood up to be part of the proactive effort to combat the sexual exploitation of children.

… and what you might look for in technology gifts for Christmas, the growth of digital libraries, sharing gift ideas via blogs and we are warned of the dangers of texting and driving.