An Empirical Study about the Use of the Internet and Computer Games among Croatian Children

An Empirical Study about the Use of the Internet and Computer Games among Croatian Children

Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić (University of Rijeka, Croatia) and Elma Polanec (Kindergarten “Little Sparow”, Croatia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 51
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8205-4.ch015
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Abstract

This book chapter is dedicated to theoretical and empirical review of media among children. Empirical results about computer presence in family homes, IT literacy with different computer programmes among parents, as well children are described. In addition, attitudes of parents and preschool and school-aged children about using Internet and computer games as well as attitudes toward the Internet violence are analysed. The results of games types that children play as well as frequency of playing and children's emotions evoked by them are shown. Finally, the results about presence of significant others as well as their conversation with children are shown. All of the above are interestingly studied in the frame of correlation analysis to research relations between some socio-demographic variables (sex, age, the level of education, and presence of computer in family home), so certain future research guidelines can be established.
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Introduction

Somehow I was always attracted people in different disciplines -

psychology, sociology, anthropology -

things are looked at comprehensively. They are intrigued me

who stood to the side and tried to answer the question

What is this really happening to human behaviour that

outside sometimes seems so confusing and hard to understand?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990)

Digital world, internet and computer games have become great and inevitable in the life of preschool and school aged children. Nevertheless, parents could ask themselves how it influences on his/her child. A lot of questions are asked: How does it influence on child's health?; How to get a child familiar with a computer,?; Is there time limitation in playing computer games?; Does a child get access to some networks not provided for their age?, Is a child exposed to any internet violence?; What about the content of computer games?; What kind of emotions child experience at the same time?. To all these questions, there is an interesting question about difference in perception between parents and children. In any way, existing digital age inflicts new situations and requirements to children as well as parents and experts in the purpose of educational work with children (Tatalović Vorkapić & Milovanović, 2013). Therefore, it is essential to implement systematic and continuous empirical research in the purpose of more adequate adoption to modern world and maximal preservation of psychological health of children, as well as happy childhood. By putting aside their shared computer time, parents can give their children the chance to develop the full range of skills—technical and social—they’ll need to succeed in our digital age. Parents can also help ensure children not to overload themselves on screen time, and buffer the flow of stress chemicals in their over stimulated systems. Despite parental fretting, technology isn’t going away, and simply cloistering our children from it is neither beneficial nor practical (Letourneau & Joschko, 2014).

Child’s free time is increasingly devoted to playing different indoor games, among them computer games. Dr. Clements (2007) determined that children in the early 2000s, as compared to a generation ago:

  • 1.

    Spend less time playing outdoors;

  • 2.

    Participate in different activities outdoors (e.g. fewer street games and more organized youth sports); and

  • 3.

    Participate in more indoor than outdoor play activities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Family: A group of people related by blood, marriage or adoption, whose members live together, they cooperate economically and care for offspring. Family is dynamic system in which each member affects other members. Family has transaction nature, i.e. event or change in any part of the family affects everyone.

Computer Games: The term “computer games” is usually identified with the term of video game, only while playing computer games children are using only by computer. Computer games are more widespread because they can be used for fun and for learning. Usually, they have been categorized as: Shooting games, Fighting games, Strategies, Role-playing game or RPG and Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).

Internet Violence: Defined as any kind of violet act, like as any harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner, by using information technology, i.e. internet on computers.

Emotions: Defined as very complex psychological states, which include three distinct components: physiological state and response, subjective experience based on cognitive interpretation of emotion and behavioral answer. There are six universal and basic emotions: fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness and sadness.

Attitude: Presents one of the determining factors in predicting an individuals’ behaviour and it has been defined as positive and negative disposition to behave in certain ways towards some person, groups or objects.

Child Development: Presents normal progression that includes numerous changes with children age. These changes could be observed in three major aspects: motor/physical, cognitive and socio/emotional.

Informatic Knowledge: The understanding, knowledge and ability to efficient use of computers and related technology. Besides basic knowledge and abilities, this term includes also the individuals’ comfort level of using computer and applications related to computers.

Attitudes toward Computer and Internet Use: Individual’s general evaluations or feelings of favour or antipathy towards computer technologies and specific computer-related activities.

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