New Media: Cyber vs. Real Friends?
If children of early 1960th could travel in time and could see the children of our time what would they think? The new Media has definitely changed our lives. Let us try to figure out what do these changes bring with them.
There are variety of possibilities enhance children’s development which new media give to parents like different programs helping to learn how to count, read, learn new languages, etc., but when not used with carefulness new media can have an absolutely negative effect.
If you take a train or bus you would often see the picture which is nowadays somehow „normal“: kids are sitting next to each other, but no one speaks to each other, every kid has its own mobile device or game console and is absolutely absorbed by it. Playing dress-up is nowadays substituted by playing “Sims” and playing in the yard with peers is now substituted by playing “Angry Birds” and Co.
It is obvious that if children spend too much time with computers, TVs, tablets and mobile devices instead of spending time with real people exploring the world, playing, listening to stories, they do not actually “see the world as it is”, they live in their reality with cyber friend in cyber world. Such behaviour can lead to disability of having social contact to other people and a great range of other problems. Many researches prove that there is a connection between new media and obesity, sexual behaviour, alcohol and drug use or even Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
As the lives of parents get more and more busier there is a danger, that such family activities as reading, playing or doing sport will be substituted by watching TV or playing computer games. If such activities are as plying and communicating to peers and other people are not offered to children then it can definitely influence their development process and ability to socialize, find their own place in life and become a self-confident person.
Many researches prove, that New Media have to be brought into children’s lives in “little amounts”. So, for example, children under 2 years could learn much more things and explore the world more intensively without watching TV or videos.(Cairney 2008)
Prof. Dr. phil Thomas Merz-Abt a medien education Professor from Zurich pedagogical University has a similar opinion to this topic: “New Media have to be an addition to the everyday life, but not its substitution. Children should have lives, which are exciting and full of adventures and in this background New Media should only be an enrichment. It becomes a problem if New Media take the most important place in children’s lives”.
Conclusion: for the early-aged children it is up to parents to decide, what do New Media bring into their children’s lives, but they should not substitute everyday activities and interrupt development process. If children from their early age learn, that there are many fascinating things they can do in their free time, then they will never prefer to sit in front of a TV to playing with their peers.
Cairney, Trevor (2008): Literacy, families and learning: The impact of new media on children. Online in Internet: http://trevorcairney.blogspot.co.at/2008/12/impact-of-new-media-on-child... (Access on: 26.05.2014).
Merz-Abt, Thomas in an Interview for Impuls Magazine. Impuls: Magazin der Suchtprävention in Vorarlberg, p.7 , 2010.
Written by Svitlana Tretiak, IMB 12
Dilemma Situationen, erarbeitet von InterMedia Studierenden an der FH Vorarlberg in der Lehrveranstaltung Medienethik.