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Childhood in the digital age
Childhood in the digital age

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1.2 Are children and adults today really so different?

Follow the link to watch ‘Digital devices and children’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  before returning to continue.

This video begins to untangle the generational gap between children and adults and explores – indirectly – some of the reasons why such differences emerge. It suggests that children are modelling their parents’ behaviour and are being introduced to digital technology at a much earlier age than children previously. It shows parents voicing unease with this, and Jim Steyer, co-founder of the US non-profit organisation Next Generation, introduces some of the issues around modern technology and children’s social behaviour.

Most children in the UK are currently spending more time with technology than they do in school or with their families (Lauricella, Wartella and Rideout, 2015). Similarly, children as young as 2, 3 and 4 are playing with their parents’ phones or tablet devices; and some psychologists argue that this has an enormous impact on their brain development, as well as on their social, emotional and cognitive skills.

This raises an important question in this 24/7 digital universe, should parents be setting new rules for their children’s engagement with technology? Is it perhaps time to promote new parenting classes for the modern age?