A STUDY INTO THE NEGATIVE INFLUENCE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON CHILD EDUCATION
BACKGROUND OF STUDY
This study reports on the negative
effects of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) within Early
Childhood Education (ECE). Traditionally the bulk of the literature pertaining
to ICT was predominantly focused on the compulsory sector, with any reference
to early childhood education reporting on debates surrounding the pros and cons
of young children’s use of computers.
The purpose of this paper is to question the impact of
computer technology on children and to offer solutions to deal with the
situation. This is a systematic study to understand how computer use affects
children’s development, and discover the help to parents, teachers, and
policymakers refine and adopt guidelines that maximize the positive effects and
minimize the negative effects of computers in the lives of the children. The
introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools has
no doubt been marked as a remarkable step that will contribute to knowledge
production, communication and information sharing among students and teachers
in the school system. In the right purpose, the introduction of ICT into the
educational system has the following objectives:
To make all the students computer literate at all levels of
educational system, To create a critical manpower well of highly skilled ICT
professionals, engineers, scientists, technicians and software developers to
support a vibrant ICT world, To provide career opportunities for most talented
children and others to participate in ICT knowledge era, To improve the
administration and management of academic institutions through the effective
use of ICT tools in their day-to-day activities.
As the children develop great interest
in computers we need to assess its impact both positively and negatively on
their development at a point in time. Over the years now, a good number of
homes have added electronic games, home computers and internet to other
technologies like television and stereo systems that takes most of the time of
For many years ICT have been judged for
their potentially negative influence on the child. Often, worries about the
usage of ICT are concerned with the question ‘how early exposing of the child
to the ICT influences its general development’. Experts like Kirkorian,
Wartella and Anderson (2009) points that the children learn more from real-life
experiences than from the ones given by ICT, especially if the content is not
so suitable for the children. The debate about the technology’s influence on
the child’s development has long ago exceeded the borders of academic circle
and became public. Plowman, McPake and Stephen (2008) have found out that even
the general public thinks that the usage of ICT is dangerous for the child, and
that its creative potential is being more and more overlooked. But where hide
the reasons for such thinking? The major argument of all studies, which stress
the negative sides of ICT is that the children in early stages of development
are the most susceptible and because of that also very vulnerable. In one of
their studies Plowman, McPake and Stephen (2010) divided the dangers and
disadvantages of ICT usage into three major categories. The first category
includes dangers and disadvantaged of ICT usage for the child’s socio-cultural
development. The writers found out that ICT supposedly endangers the child’s
social development, because children spend less time playing with their peers
and are mostly isolated; ICT is supposedly to offer virtual experiences from
“the second hand” and not realistic experiences from “the first hand”; besides
that the marketing of ICT is in our society very intense and prays on
vulnerable children, which represent the biggest part of its target group. The
second category includes the dangers and disadvantages of ICT usage for the
child’s cognitive development. ICT is supposedly to endanger the child’s
intellectual development, the development of imagination (it stimulates
passivity and not activity), and the development of language (lack of
communication with peers). The last category includes dangers and disadvantages
of ICT usage for the child’s wellbeing.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Children are supposedly to spent more
time in enclosed spaces and not outdoors, the child’s health is also endangered
(sitting usage, which increases the risk of obesity), the usage of ICT
supposedly leads to addiction with technology and exposure to inappropriate
content., besides all that the chances of child interacting with family members
are also decreased, what is supposedly to lead towards decreasing of child’s
emotional development. All these dangers and disadvantages of ICT usage are
mostly connected with the amount of ICT usage, its content and the degree of
parent control. Today, children can through ICT more easily access various
contents than ever before. Adults do not have control over this access, because
the media environment has changed so drastically that a complete control over
the child’s usage of ICT is today practically impossible. (Roberts, Foehr,
Rideout, and Brodie, 1999). We found out the number of sedentary hours children
spend on the activities they engage in using the computer. Some research point
to some health related hazards, such as back strains, neck strains and eye
strains. One of the bad aspects of computer use is that even the children who
cannot read and write yet, are already used to this machine. They develop at a
very early age the habit of playing on the computers for hours on end. Only 8%
spend more than six hours a week either chatting online or on current affairs.
Over sixty percent of the children spend one to three hours a week using the
computer either playing computer game, homework, chatting online, sending
e-mails and current affairs, Most of the boys spend a lot of their time playing
computer games, whiles the girls spent the time either chatting or doing their
homework. The boys spend more time on the computer as compared to the girls.
The influence of information technology
on a child’s educational performance varies from one situation to another. The
negative effect on a particular child may be advantageous to the development of
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this study is to
examine the negative effects of information technology on child-education. It was
undertaken due to the increased expectation of ICT in the early childhood
context and to explore how a corrective measure can be strategized for a higher
percentage of positive impact on the contrary. Specific objectives of the study
1. To identify the type (s) of information
technology devices and gadgets children are easily addicted to.
2. To identify information technology
devices and gadgets that can negatively influence a child at his or her early
stages of education.
3. To proffer various strategies and
methods parents can use in eliminating the negative influence of information
technology on child education.
In-order to achieve the above stated
research objectives, the researcher formulated the following research
1. What information and technology gadgets
are your children easily addicted to?
2. What negative effects have these
gadgets had on the academic achievement of your child/Children?
3. What strategies can be adopted to help
minimize the negative effects of information technology on children education?
The following research hypotheses were
formulated to help validate findings in line
Ho: There is no significant
relationship between information technology usage and academic performance of children.
Hi: There is a significant relationship
between information technology usage and academic performance of children.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be highly useful after its completion for
parents, teachers and the growing children. The research studies on child
education and the negative influence of information technology and will be of
great help in that it would;
parents become sensitive to the inevitable influence on their growing children
and how they can effectively manage the menace from crumbling their efforts to
giving the child good grooming.
teacher: The knowledge obtained from this study will enable them to
understand how computer use affects children’s development, and seek to help
them refine and adopt guidelines that maximize the positive effects and
minimize the negative effects of computers in children’s lives.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the child education
and the negative impact of information and communication technology on the
child’s education. The study basically focused on the comparism between the
positive and negative influence on male and female children in this era towards
achieving the targeted future.
1.8 PRESENTATION OF THE THESIS
This thesis is presented in six
chapters. Chapter one presents an overview and rationale for the study with the
research questions forming the framework. This study was undertaken due to the
increased negative influence of ICT in the early childhood context and to
explore how a small group of early childhood teachers responded to this
The second chapter outlines research
and literature that exists in relation to ICT both within the compulsory and
early childhood sectors. The bulk of literature pertaining to ICT in ECE
previously focused on the presence of computers, which potentially reflected a
negative view and interpretation of ICT effects. More recently, this has
shifted to show how the potential of ICT can be enhanced when integrated within
the holistic way of child grooming and teaching, reflected within the early
Chapter three outlines the research
design. The theoretical framework, alongside the methods employed to gather and
analyse the data, are also described. This study took a qualitative approach to
the research, with the principles of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki
(Ministry of Education, 1996) embedded within the research design.
Collecting the data involved two methods, questionnaires and focus groups.
Within chapter four the findings of the
research are presented and disseminated in relation to the key themes which
emerged from the data. These themes show that the teachers in this study mainly
incorporated ICT within their teaching and learning environments to document
children’s learning. They considered that using ICT supported the visibility of
children’s learning experiences despite the negative effects.
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