Children’s Increased Engagement with Technology

Young children are increasingly using Tablets for educational and entertainment purposes. According to a recent survey by Common Sense Media, 40% of US families now own a Tablet and research from Nielsen indicates that 54% of American parents let their child use their Tablet. This has led Tablet manufacturers to design Tablets specifically for this market. Samsung recently announced the launch date of a new Tablet designed especially for use by both parents and children. The Tablet has separate parent and child modes and comes with parental controls and preloaded educational content, as well as popular games.

This week the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement urging parents to set frameworks to limit children’s use of digital devices to avoid associated health risks such as inactivity and obesity. Children’s increased engagement with technology has however raised concerns.According to Common Sense Media the number of American children who use mobile media every day has more than doubled since 2011, from 8% to 17%.

Amidst public concerns over children’s use of digital media, researchers who specialise in bullying and internet safety from the University of Oxford argued this week that internet chatrooms and social networks can also offer important benefits to young people, and that this needs to be acknowledged in public debate. The researchers reviewed 14 studies of young people’s use of the internet. The authors argued that rather than concentrating on ways of blocking or censoring websites, more effort should be put into finding online opportunities to reach out to young people in emotional distress.

Aakash Tablet deployed in Indian and American Schools Datawind’s Aakash Android Tablet has been deployed to hundreds of schools in India and it was recently announced that 2000 Tablets have been deployed in American schools. 42 countries around the world have now expressed interest in introducing the low cost Tablets. CEO of Datawind Suneet Singh Tuli
recently announced that the Tablet will become available to purchase online in the UK for £29 by the end of the year. Project on The Impact of Tablets on Children’s Learning A research project organised by Manchester University is evaluating the impact of Tablets on children’s
learning in 24 primary schools.

The project will test children before and after the Tablet trial, and is one of
seven projects funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and Nominet Trust measuring the
impact of technology in schools. In one of the schools, Rosendale Primary school in South London,
pupils are using Tablets to take pictures of their schoolwork and tag the picture with notes commenting
on their learning. The Head teacher at the school believes that the devices are helping children learn,
and that children with learning difficulties were benefitting especially.

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