Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Digital Kids

"Worldwide research on very young children and their use of IT is limited, but one recent report from Sheffield University in the UK called Digital Beginnings makes for interesting reading.
For instance by the age of four, 45% of children have used a mouse to point and click, 27% have used a computer on their own at home, rising to 53% for six-year-olds, and 30% have looked at websites for children at home."

This is from a BBC News article (there's also a video) about the Digital Beginnings project which has a rich site here. The full report mentioned in the Beeb piece is called Digital Beginnings: Young children's use of popular culture, media and technologies and has a 2005 publication date. The data from questionnaires is included.

From the summary:

"This study has offered a variety of perspectives on the changing worlds of
very young children in contemporary society. It has provided evidence of the
extensive nature of children’s engagement with popular culture, media and
new technologies and suggests that they are competent and confident
navigators of digital worlds. There is now a need for educators to respond to
the challenge this presents by developing curricula and pedagogy...
Not to do so is to assign our youngest children to an education which,
although generally successful in preparing children for encounters with the written word on paper, is not yet as successful in ensuring that they are proficient with the multimodal, multimedia texts and practices which permeate everyday life in the twenty-first century."

I'd say there is also a need for librarians to respond to this challenge.

Hat tip to pasta&vinegar for the initial link.


Alice said...

Interesting. Andy and I were just talking about "how young is too young?" to assume that someone might be using WorldCat.org. We were trying to think through the best possible user experience--to target the service to appear in a meaningful, helpful place for people--including kids.(Which was a new revelation for me--8 year olds using the OPAC/ILS? Of course!)
Noelle Weaver brings this need for marketer restraint even further into focus.

Anonymous said...

Wow... this is a very interesting study. The first time I held a mouse was when I was fourteen. I had my first cellular phone when I was already seventeen. I don' know, though, if it's really good for children as young as four to be exposed to these types of things. It seems like they're missing a lot of childhood activities.