Childhood in the digital age
Childhood in the digital age

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Childhood in the digital age

1.3.4 Creating responsible digital kids

Described image
Figure 9 What does a digital world hold in store for the next generation?

Young children are immersed in a digitally rich environment, from tablets to desktops and texting to social networks. Digital technologies have potential benefits in the areas of cognitive, social and physical development. They have huge appeal for children, and this can be harnessed to help children socialise, develop and learn.

At the same time, parents and social scientists also fear that children’s over-use of digital technology might result in physical problems such as obesity, social problems such as isolation, or psychological problems such as high levels of aggression. There are also, of course, notable risks associated with online activities and fears from parents and educators about children’s online safety. The suggestion of a digital divide means that children may be using technology in ways unfamiliar to adults, making it increasingly difficult to protect them.

However, simply restricting children’s access or adding security controls won’t offer all the protection they need. Threat is out there, but it is less than face-to-face threat and children are commonly able to find ways of dealing with it. It can be argued that we need to equip children with the skills and knowledge to avoid these risks and become responsible digital children.

Next week you will begin to explore the exciting opportunities that technology can offer for children’s social development, and think about how social media and online interactions are changing as a result of children’s engagement with new forms of online communication.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371