New Communication Technologies: A Focus Group Study About Children

New Communication Technologies: A Focus Group Study About Children

Rengim Sine (Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5733-3.ch008

Abstract

From the onset of the digital dawn, visually constructed new communication technologies, in particular social networks, have occupied a significant place in the lives of children. With increasing compactness of digital technologies, its availability increased also and helped social networks to a central role in the lives of adults and children as well. The shrinking of technology enabled most families to afford a tablet for their children who used the technology for starting an active social network life. This process brought with it endless debates about the actual control conditions of the children's usage and those conditions that were advisable. This study utilized in-depth interviews with six parents of children in the 4-7 age group, consisting a focus group to define the motives of adults who enabled their children with access to “digital technologies” and “social networks.”
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Background

Scholars who dealt with the relationship of the new media technologies and children, note that children now were watching television less than previously and were spending more time in front of the PC. Actually this state has produced a new “Net Generation” who led their lives through digital technologies (Aydoğan, 2017: 604-603). An example is the animated series of Pepee which was presented as an example for content that successfully mediated Turkish culture. A search of Pepee on Youtube yielded 8.380.000 different results with the first of them viewed 41.844.745 times (Youtube, 2018) which indicates the significance of social networks for the lives of children. The education, leisure time activities, plays, etc. are supported widely by digital technologies.

Under the light of these developments, The Ministry for National Education developed the FATİH (Turkish abbreviation for Movement for Increasing Opportunities and Improving Technologies) projects for schools with the aim of increasing technology usage in schools, achieving opportunity equity in education and training, and improving technologies used in schools. As part of the project that began with the pilot distribution of 13.800 tablets in 2011 and continued the following years, reaching 737.800 in 2014. In 2015, this figure almost doubled to 1.437.800 units. (Fatih Projesi, n.d.). The Project is a good indication how the government attaches importance to new communication technologies in relation to the lives of children.

On the other hand, while nearly all aspects of our lives are affected by the new communication technologies, the uncontrollability of these Technologies has developed society-wide sensitivities in regard to the “children and technology” relationship. Particularly the prevalence of new media use has given rise to concerns about children being exposed to media products which can be seen by the increase in scholarly research on the issue.

Tipeez Children Media Research Group has conducted in 2016 a study on the internet usage of children (MediaCat, 2017). The Turkish section of the study consisted of nearly 1000 participants 60% of these were boys and 40% were girls. Notable findings included those:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Media: Various platforms where humans communicate electronically.

Internet: A world-wide, continuously expanding communication network that consists of many computer systems linked together.

New Communication Technologies: The communication means for the simultaneous and multistrata interaction of the communication process that is based on the digital coding system.

Technology: All tools and the knowledge related to them that is developed by man to control and transform his material environment.

New Media: All developments based on the internet and the internet technologies infrastructure.

Smartphone: An advanced mobile communication device that has been designed by the addition of personal digital assistant features—which is a kind of computer—to the conventional features of the cell phone.

New Communication Technology Media: The media where simultaneous and multistrata interaction happens.

Social media: Web-based developments that bring in the sociality to the media that is developed by the integration of technology and communication.

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