Childhood in the Digital Age (Week 4) #FLdigitalkid15

1) Intro Video

Looking into the future, and particularly how technology has/is affected/ing education in the classroom. How do parents support what is going on in the classroom?

2) What could the future look like?

The Khan Academy, it’s popularity, and the notion of the flipped classroom. Khan sells the notion of the platform as being able to help teach the individual, rather than what the whole class needs to know – it sees where the gaps are, and gives the material that is required to fill the gap. We hear children who are using the material, how excited they are by their avatars, how it changed the way a teacher teaches – she can see what particular skill has been mastered/where student is struggling (and how long student sent/how someone struggled) – and can intervene quickly. Issues of ‘Big Brother-ish’, as can see most of what students are doing, but children are excited to get points, badges, and upgrade their avatars.

Many of the comments from other delegates indicate that they think that it’s impossible to replace face-to-face learning with technology, but that the technology can really enhance blended learning.

3) Flipped Classrooms

Allows for more personalised learning, rather than the teacher standing between the student and the knowledge, s/he is a coach/mentor – faster students are no longer bored, and slower students are no longer frustrated – each student gets the support they need as they work through the material at their own pace, using the face-to-face time more effectively than chalk’n’talk, with personalised supervision and/or peer group work.

A powerful concept is that teachers don’t have to spend precious classroom time on explaining basic concepts; in a traditional class they can’t focus on specific problems or address the needs of their individual students. The flipped classroom model clearly aims to maximise the time teachers have available for each student and often implies a turn towards technology-enabled teaching methods.

If you’re seeking to promote independent learners, this is key – but of course, not unproblematic – especially dependent upon access/accessibility of technology/internet, etc. at home.

4) Creating a New Curriculum

In 2014, learning coding became a key part of the national curriculum.

Coding using algorithms and computational thinking will help children develop a language, together with systematic thinking and problem-solving (through simulation, trial-and-error) and storytelling skills that should prepare them for the future.

See, e.g. Dept for Education computing curriculum, ‘Computing at School: Advice for Primary Teachers‘, Guardian article. Industry has praised the move, whilst others have criticised it – is it the most useful use of school time? Are teachers digitally literate enough to teach this?

5) Virtual Schools?

This section looks at the possibility of e-learning, especially in developing countries where schools can typically have 90 students to one teacher. An experiment between Malawi and University of Nottingham found the student’s learning progressed immeasurably more with the virtual learning than they could in such mass classrooms – instant feedback, and the ability to learn from where they had gone wrong being key. BBC Report, Uni Nottingham report.

Comments on the course highlight the stress that people still place on face-to-face teaching (is this just for what we know, or supported by research?), and there are questions about how much information has been retained a year later?

6) The School in the Cloud

Looking at Sugatra Mitra, building on his Hole in the Wall (led to Slumdog Millionaire)… felt that children learn even more without adults around … wants to take this thinking inside the classroom – ‘Self-organised learning environment’ … Ask them a big question, leave the children with a computer to work together to look up the answer (how does hair grow?). Huge amount of positive reinforcement (“well done”) was key. Again, there’s a feeling that this works in developing countries where there is very little other education – but are questions as to whether this works in e.g. the UK.See ‘The Granny Cloud

The TED talk referred to in the audio:

[ted id=1678]

 7) Your Own Views on Education and Technology

  • Do you think children can really speed up their own learning with the use of digital technology and limited teacher input?
  • Could the same set of skills be achieved with just a carefully designed piece of technology alone and no teacher input?
  • What do you think teachers can bring to children’s learning and development that computers and other technology cannot?

I think both teachers and technology have a place, and it’s worth thinking about how they are used in a ‘blend’, and how teachers can use the possibilities to give each individual student the best possibilities. Algorithms are still not as sophisticated as human beings (and will they ever be), but human beings don’t have the capacity to monitor personally to the extent that computers can.

8) One Laptop Per Child

An inspiring looking project providing low-cost laptops to those in developing countries – at least 2 million in 42 countries distributed. Not without criticism:

Children need training in using the laptop and teachers also require considerable professional development to successfully embed such new devices in their classrooms. Technical support is often unavailable when things go wrong and schools lack the necessary resources or funding to make repairs. It may also be simplistic, if not naive, to assume that the same technology will work equally well in a different context or cultur

9) Tablets & Digital Applications

Huge debates as tablets, etc. play increasing part in the classroom – some are enthusiastic, others are wary. As always, important that the content/focus of why they are being used is key, and teachers need to be well-versed in the use, to enable the technology to be used well.

See piece in The Conversation outlining much of the thinking rules before iPads enter the classroom

10) Can apps help children learn?

Representing some of the key thinking of Natalia Kucirkova – questions to ask of an app before seeking to use it for educational purposes. See The Open University ‘Our Story’ app.

11) What does the research evidence say?

See this report from Flewitt et al, and this quote from the MOOC:

The point must be emphasised that it is not the technology alone that supports learning; careful planning and sensitive support by confident teachers is needed to ensure the technology meets its intended goals.

12) Accelerated maths learning in Malawi and UK

Returning to the story about the maths app, created by onebillion, so successful in Malawi, that potentially being brought back for UK school children. Fun tasks, easy steps, the opportunity to repeat ‘wrong’ answers, and a certificate when completed. Scores are ‘rocketing’. In the UK, 6 weeks, 30 minutes a day – accelerated 18 months of learning (and the kids are keen to go outside once the half hour is up!).

I’m thinking this can work with subjects with have right/wrong answers. 

13) End of Course Poll

Some “interesting” questions re what effect you think technology is having on children/life/learning!

14) A New Educational Future

Present/future possibilities.

Who says people don’t complete MOOCs?



Childhood in the Digital Age (Week 3) #FLdigitalkid15

Week 3: Learning to Think in a Digital Age

What subtle changes are there in our behaviours after being immersed in digital device usage?

Video: Learning, technology and all things digital

People sometimes problem solve through pre-thinking (focused learning), sometimes experiment (which games particularly use), sometimes observe, interact & learn (literacy).

Article: A Pyramid of Digital Engagement

We’re looking at Steve Wheeler’s pyramid of digital engagement, in that we often start with watching, lurking and reading, as confidence is gained, we engage more:

Engagement Pyramid


So, don’t be surprised if a lot of what children initially do online is very passive, as they become more involved, they start to engage more meaningfully in ways that seem more transformational.

Article: Learning Through Communication

We learn huge amounts through social interaction – are children inventing new forms of communication, for example through text-speak – which offers speed/immediacy, and is evidence of creativity, although many are worried about digital ‘dumbing down’, especially of language literacy.

Video: Texting is Killing Language

John McWhorter, linguist & political commentator, sees texting as positive: a creative & energetic activity. See his TED talk:
[ted id=1718]

He identifies how recent (written) communication is, the differences between speech/writing (including in pace, structure), where the blurring of lines has come between texting (easy communication in your pocket) and written speech, and the worries that so many have about the ‘loss’ of punctuation, etc. We see the power of ‘LOL’ and how it’s being used as a mark of empathy, rather than an indication of humour; the power of ‘slash’ or other markers to indicate a change of topic (which many of us do with hmm, etc. in spoken speech). We have complained over the last 2000(+?) years that people are not well-versed in language skills [but people survive]. Texting is a linguistic miracle, happening right underneath our noses.

Discussion: A Generation of Texters?

  • Are there any advantages for children learning to use text abbreviations as a way of communicating with friends? Are they really as ‘miraculous’ as John McWhorter suggests?
  • Is there a risk that knowing and using text abbreviations may have a detrimental effect on children’s traditional written language skills?

I commented: I have seen students undertaking creative exercises (university level), in which e.g. Shakespeare scripts, Bible stories, and creative writing in general has been given a succinctness that is often not visible. It’s not the only form of communication that children (or many of us use), as always – it has affordances, and it has constraints.

Article: An epidemic of distracted youngsters?

See a report the 2013 version of this survey which indicates even higher numbers indicating study is not possible without technological devices, and that so many schoolchildren “can’t” go more than 10 minutes without checking their phones.

We’re looking at the issue of multitasking – does it aid learning, or is it a distraction?

Problems are identified with task-switching and lack of focus, and the possibility of paying only superficial attention to what they are doing because their attention is divided. But expert opinion on this is divided…

I commented: I wrote this in my book Raising Children in a Digital Age (Lion Hudson, 2014

Attention spans and multitasking
By the age of eleven, the majority of children are online for two hours or more every day. For younger children, those visits tend to be driven by a specific activity, but many of the older ones have online sources on constantly, multitasking with them in the background. Younger children are more likely to be sharing their machine and to have a greater range of activities that require time. “Multitasking” is often described as something new to “millennials”, but Gina Maranto from the University of Miami says that information multitasking is not a new phenomenon: “My father, a corporate editor, used to watch television, read magazines, and listen to the radio at the same time long before computers, cell phones, or iPads.”20
Professor Livingstone defines two different types of multitasking:

  • Constructive: having Instant Messenger, music or search open, which contributes to something they are working on
  • Distractive: watching TV on demand, videos, or playing games, which pulls them away from study.

Article: Multitasking as a new way of learning

Referring to Cardoso-Leite and Bavelier, 2014; Granic, Lobel and Engels, 2014, whose research has highlighted, that in gaming, children can learn strong multi-tasking skills, the rewards of trial and error, alertness, quick reactions and brain development as people keep an eye out for new opportunities in a game.

Article: Brain Development in a Hyper-tech world

Are children’s brains changing in relation to their use of games, etc.?

A central discovery of neuroscience is that the brain continues to develop its ‘wiring diagram’ well into a person’s twenties at least. The frontal lobes, regions critical to high-level cognitive skills such as judgement, multitasking, executive control and emotional regulation, are the last to develop fully.

Commented with some more material from my book: Brain change?

There are constant references in the media to the “fact” that digital media are “rewiring children’s brains”. Journalist Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows has been particularly influential in this context. He discusses changes in the brain, and how, as a child, he used to get lost in the twists and turns of a book, but now “can’t concentrate” as he clicks among the data his brain has become hungry for. As his old computer turned him into a word processor, so the new machine has made him into a high-speed data-processing machine.5 Technology certainly does make it possible for us to change our practices, but I am a notorious “polymath”, and a good book or film, or even (dare I say) the writing process, can draw me in for several hours, so I’m not convinced by his arguments.

Newspaper headlines have promoted the idea that the internet is changing our brains, typically for the worse. In the Pew 2012 “Hyper-connected” survey, a number of experts highlighted how every activity we undertake will affect our brain functioning or our thinking, but that doesn’t make it inherently bad. Communications consultant Stowe Boyd said:

The reason that kids are adapting so quickly to social tools online is because they align directly with human social connection, much of which takes place below our awareness. Social tools are being adopted because they match the shape of our minds, but yes, they also stretch our minds based on use and mastery, just like martial arts, playing the piano, and badminton.

Blogger, journalist, and communications professor Jeff Jarvis said we are experiencing a transition from a textual era, so we are thinking differently, but that doesn’t mean that the physiology of our brains is different:

Before the press, information was passed mouth-to-ear, scribe-to-scribe; it was changed in the process; there was little sense of ownership and authorship. In the five-century-long Gutenberg era, text did set how we see our world: serially with a neat beginning and a defined end; permanent; authored. Now, we are passing out of this textual era and that may well affect how we look at our world. That may appear to change how we think. But it won’t change our wires.6

Video: Your Brain and Video Games

See Daphne Bavelier:
[ted id=1618]

Video gaming is pervasive, but the average age of a gamer is 33, not 8! Parents worry about the amount of time that their children are playing games, but wouldn’t have similar worries for kids with their heads in Shakespeare or Sudoku [because it’s ‘educational’].

Testing out some of the ‘Friday night pub conversations’ in the lab –

  • Extensive game players have increasingly good vision
  • Action video gamers have an ability to track objects well (6-7, rather than 3-4)
  • Gamers are better at multi-tasking (can see changes in the attention areas of the brain)
  • Not all multi-tasking is equal – those using a range of media have much poorer attention spans – so need care with ‘comprehensive’ statements.
  • Those who think they are good at multi-tasking are often surprised at how poor they are.
  • Like wine, there are poor uses, but the right quality in good doses can be good ‘for health’.
  • Seeking to use lab results to learn how to use games well for learning and brain retraining… but having to fight with a games industry that is [solely seeking ££?]

Article: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

See Raise Smart Kid website article The Positive & Negative of Video Games – an extensive list of pros/cons.

Discussion: Your View on Video Games

  • In your experience is there a link between video game playing and negative behaviours, such as violence, aggression and social isolation?
  • Being more of an optimist, what do you feel are the benefits of playing video games?

Look up Susan Greenfield and Neil Levy for more on videogames.

Great range of comments re which direction does negative behaviour flow – is the game the cause, or are those who behave that way attracted to aggressive games? If time is spent away from games are there other factors that may be improving behaviour, e.g. spending more face-to-face time with others?

Video: The Strengths of New Technology

Paul Howard-Jones, educational psychologist and optimist about digital technology – seeing it as reshaping neural connections in the brain & strengthening acquisition of new skills.

  • Games are teaching us: improved visual motor response, improvements in switching attention, even improvements in being able to not be distracted
  • People haven’t really understood the underlying processes of ‘gamification’, and often when educational materials have been ‘gamed’, children don’t understand why they are not ‘fun’ & don’t work as learning tools
  • The importance of rewards/dopamine, and the uncertainty of rewards – lead to engagement and excitement. [Reminds me of Martin Saunders recent piece in Christian Today]
  • Importance of sleep & nutrition, in which technology/caffeine can be disruptive.
  • Paul thinks about how he manages things with his own children – the younger are restricted to before 7pm, but older children are learning to manage their own communications/with friends so is more NEGOTIATION.

Article: Prescribing Video Games for ADHD

See McKnight and Davies, 2013 for examples of how technology is improving life for those with additional needs. Studies have shown that game-playing with children with ADHD has led to improved success in engaging in clinical support, and also increased ability to stay on task – but with a warning that all games are not created equal!

Article: Costs & Benefits

The hope is that people have learned that technology can be used in innovative/creative ways to be positive.

Next week “In the final week, you will look to the future for the digital child as a learner and what the learning environment might look like for them.”


Childhood in the Digital Age (Week 2) #FLdigitalkid15

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!

  • Episode opens focusing on fears that we will become screen-dominated creatures, detached from ‘the real world’.
  • Charlie Leadbetter describes this as a middle-age, middle-class panic, whilst Aleks seeks to understand if the web is really trivialising our relationships.
  • Susan Greenfield is a strong voice behind ‘the internet is not real’, that actions don’t have consequences. [As online/offline condenses surely this becomes even less of a truth]
  • Kids interviewed about life before the internet think it must have been ‘really boring’, and that people must have ‘read books’. [All repeated messages that help increase fears.]
  • Sherry Turkle – the seductiveness of the real-time update loop, seeking validation for what we are doing/sharing.
  • Aleks Krotoski – we have little time on our own, both producing acres of micro-content, and consuming the content of others.
  • Stephen Fry “This is astounding technology; we should just take a moment to celebrate the power and the reach that it gives us across time and across ideas, and across continents both past, future and present to connect with people.”

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


  • Creation, interactivity, learning
  • Connectivity with peers (especially for those who are shy)
  • Connectivity with those with similar (niche) interests
  • Support and advice in the challenging TV years
  • Positive change – e.g. political/social change campaigns


  • Mental health, and social interaction
  • Cyberbullying, by those known and strangers
  • Privacy issues
  • Advertising influence
  • Need to use in moderation

Article: Assessing Positives & Negatives

via this Huffington Post article.


  • Time & distance have been reduced (between communications), and this has implications for children’s social and emotional development.
  • Maintain friendships & strengthen family ties
  • Deeper insight into children’s lives (esp in the ‘grumpy teenage’ years)
  • Shy children – find those with similar interests
  • Promote inventiveness & creativity
  • Potential for increased empathetic connection


  • Exposed to wider range of people/risks (may not be emotionally developed enough to deal with e.g. trolling, cyberbullying, sexting)
  • Lacking in maturity and judgement – more at risk of marketing, inappropriate contact, ‘addiction’ and identity theft
  • Video games & violence (what direction is the causality?)
  • Narcissism (again, which comes first, tech of personality?)
  • Lack of research over a long time-frame

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.


Childhood in the Digital Age (Week 1) #FLdigitalkid15

This four-week course from the OU draws upon the expertise of a developmental psychologist, and a researcher in early literacy – both different aspects from mine, which comes from that of a social media/communications specialist looking at what children/those shaping their environment need to understand in order to ‘enjoy the best and avoid the worst’ online.


Intro Video

How is digital technology changing childhood – and how can adults keep up?

  • Touch-screen = accessible, but do children find them exciting beyond entertainment?
  • Different from our own experiences, so is it good, or bad, for child development?

Article: A Family Discussion

Are your experiences of childhood fundamentally or superficially different?

  • [Fascinating that it’s the kids that are seen as ‘problematic’ asking for wi-fi codes, etc. I’m considerably older than a child, but I’d probably ask that too, although as I’m older, I might have more etiquette, but I think my fundamental desire for connectivity is the same.]
  • Parents want definition over terms – childhood defined as 3-14 year olds; the course uses 2 x definitions of digital/technology – the hardware devices/outputs, but also the functionality.

The question asks ‘are we raising a new generation of children for whom technology is as natural as breathing?’. [Is this a culturally specific question? And what about the difference between a 3 year old, 5 year old, 12 year old? Is it more like comparing to learning to ski from a young age = less fears, and more creative about using it, before the rules of life have come in, rather than the tech itself?]

Article: From Zero to Eight

Increasing ownership of tablets (1/3 children) and use of smartphones. The EU Kids Online Project identified that there’s an increasing number of younger children using mobile, internet-connected devices, including 30% of 7-11 year olds reporting having their own Facebook account (‘legal’ age is 13), and that the stats are not uniform across countries.

Article/Video: A Moral Panic

Mariella Frostrup with Tanya Byron, Lydia Plowman, Julie Johnson and Helen King – notions of moral panics – is a particular issue seen as a threat to conventional social norms?

  • Should children under age of 2 use tech
  • Should pre-school-age children engage with age-appropriate social networks as ‘training’
  • What benefits (less often focused upon) associated with early exposure to technology?

Some thoughts

  • Democratisation of information – easier to access globally scattered information.
  • Typically focuses on 8+, but what about those younger, esp re tablets, etc.
  • Marketing for pre-8 age-group is aimed at parents/grandparents, typically for ‘learning benefits’, children typically not asking for selves, and often actually based upon old styles of learning
  • We have a digital economy, in which people need to engage.
  • Byron – neuroscience – children struggle to distinguish between fact/fiction – therefore need supervision & management online as you would offline (walled gardens). “Stop panicking and broaden our thinking about it”.
  •  Working in child exploitation, see the worst of the internet, and therefore colours thinking about it.
  • Julie – should only use technology with their parents (based on anecdotal experience)
  • Lydia – no evidence that early use does harm, but jury is out.
  • Byron – early stages of development = neurones are connecting, so need to be clear on how much technology is used, and is clear it’s not the most useful tool for developing brains.

Article: Why is technology so appealing?

  • Fun, captivating and entertaining
  • Intrinsic (rather than extrinsic) motivation – activity for own sake because enjoyable, leads to persistence, performance, satisfaction.
  • 3 basic psychological needs:
    • Competence – mastering a challenge effectively
    • Relatedness – connecting with others using social networking
    • Autonomy – control of own lives, rational choices in using tech/for what

Article/Video: Are children and adults today really so different?

  • Check out ‘digital devices and children‘ (Jim Steyer: digital natives); spend more time with their devices than they do with parents/at school; streaming video = convenience; huge amounts of guilt re allowing children to have devices at table, etc.; expectation is can take device everywhere/zones out; need for parents to model behaviour (parenting/how we learn hasn’t really changed, devices have changed); truly engage with what is being sent in/out from child’s account; reference to ‘impersonal way that we communicate’
  • Do we need new rules? New parenting classes?

Article: Introducing Digital Natives

Range of terms tied to the importance that technology plays in defining the lives of young people.

  • Prensky’s theory of ‘digital natives‘ [which I believe he has since drawn back from in some respects]
  • Neuroplasticity – new neural connections responsive to environments
  • Does this, therefore, mean that we need to change the types of education to meet children’s expectations?
  • [5 years ago I have a talk on 21st Century Students, which has had nearly 4,000 views – essentially, we are still dealing with humans, but there are things to be aware of]

Article: Digital Natives, Fact or Fiction

[This is one my favourite videos on this topic:


Sue Bennett (2008) indicates that Prensky’s research is not empirically/theoretically informed, and therefore has become an academic form of ‘moral panic’.

  • The term has stuck til 2015, and still informs discussions about education – dangerous to change large systems on such limited research

Question: Is there really a generational divide?

Specific types of tech used by kids more than others, what is difference to their offline activities? What about digital natives/immigrants?

[I would buy in more to Dave White’s theory of visitors & residents]

Article: Digital Pessimists

We live in a risk-averse society and this is certainly true with regard to children.”

  • Most concerns are related to moral or social anxieties – re children’s cognitive, emotional or social development
  • Pessimism directed at screen-based media, as assumes = social isolation, lack of social skills, obesity [other research has illustrated the opposite]
  • Aggression tied to video games? Attention deficit and disrupted sleep.
  • Searches = internet ‘addiction’, aggressive game playing & bullying – the digital is often blamed for this.

Poll: Are you a digital optimist or pessimist?

5 simple questions (I am clearly an optimist), but interestingly, the majority of those undertaking this survey (over 1000 people) are leaning towards more pessimistic views!

Article/Video: Back to the Experts

Sonia Livingstone asks if prevention is really the best cure:

  • What the real risks, the stats? Many childhood ‘issues’ haven’t changed over-time, but the visibility has changed? Media representations too! How do we respond?
  • The internet is always changing, and change makes us anxious – we have worried about every technological revolution
  • “The internet is not the cause of human misery, people are.”
  • Always in, always on, choices about communication – e.g. anonymity/identification, the speed/long-term nature of (negative) content.
  • Constant re-design of the internet. “Has not arrived from Mars” – it’s been made by us, shaped by commerce, government, work, people, etc.
  • What content are they engaging with, and who is providing that?
  • Ofcom figures from 2013 indicate that few are really partaking in participatory activities (uploading a photo = the most)
  • Where are our ‘spaces’, we have become so risk-averse, we don’t allow children outside, nor do we allow them alone online? How can we encourage better use of creative spaces.

Article: Digital Parenting

  • We need to give children more autonomy and choice, rather than shutting them down, trust the maturity and judgement of children.
  • Many psychologists avoid the term ‘risk’ and use ‘problematic situations’, recognising that children have different perceptions of what is problematic.
  • Awareness of risks means that children concentrate on avoiding problematic situations online, or from re-occuring.
  • Give children
    • Problem-solving strategies – actions/strategies
    • Plan/reflect – using hypothetical situations
    • Information seeking – about online environment
    • Support seeking – who to talk to if run into problems
    • Fatalistic – accept risks out there without trivialising/generalising.
  • See Digital Parenting magazine from Vodafone

Article: Creating responsible digital kids

  • Too much fear. Digital divide seen as between children/adults, who feel ill-equipped to protect their children.
  • Risk-avoidance is not the strategy, but equipping children with skills/knowledge to avoid known risks, and become responsible digital children.

What’s next?