High-Tech Tots

Childhood in a Digital World

Edited by:
Ilene R. Berson, University of South Florida
Michael J. Berson, University of South Florida

A volume in the series: Research in Global Child Advocacy. Editor(s): Ilene R. Berson, University of South Florida. Michael J. Berson, University of South Florida.

Published 2010

Young children are coming of age surrounded by information and communication technology (ICT). ICT is a prominent force in their lives, and working with ICT can stimulate students intellectually, incite their creativity, and challenge them to apply developmentally appropriate inquiry approaches that enhance their learning experiences. Digital technologies also allow children to expand their physical space and access many online social environments that transcend time and space. However, any focus on the efficiency and effectiveness of technology applications in the early childhood years cannot overlook the potential consequences of technological development on children with regard to their social functioning, interpersonal interactions, and global understanding. In addition to evaluating technology as a tool of instruction, we must focus on educational implications and ethical issues associated with their use.

This book is the fifth in the Research in Global Child Advocacy Series. The volume examines theoretical assumptions as well as the application of innovative strategies that optimize the interface between young children and ICT from a global perspective. Despite divergent perspectives, the chapter authors share a commitment to explore the immersion of ICT into the lives of young children and consider the educational value of these tools as well as the developmental appropriateness of technological affordances. This volume brings together scholars and policymakers whose rich discourse delves into questions such as: How do communication technologies benefit young children’s social and cognitive development? What standards and technical specifications are needed to effectively safeguard young children engaged with ICT? How are young children introduced to ICT? What are the challenges and risks for young children online? What programs are effective in mediating risk? What are the educational applications for ICT in early childhood? Is social networking the new "online playground” for young children? How can young children become competent users of digital technology and media? How can early childhood educators and families encourage positive usage and discourage negative social consequences associated with today’s technology? How can ICT enhance teaching and learning for young children? What ICT activities are developmentally appropriate for young children?

In the book there are three primary areas of emphasis: (a) ICT as a teaching and learning tool across cultures and countries to promote the social and cognitive development of young children; (b) research on developmentally appropriate education on cybersafety and cybercitizenship; and (c) studies on the influence of digital technologies on young children, including exposure to inappropriate content and participation in online social networks. This resource offers readers a glimpse into the experience of children and the expertise of researchers and professionals who diligently work toward crafting a framework for action that reflects intercultural and cross-national initiatives. Given the role that electronic media plays in the lives of children as both an educational and entertainment tool, understanding the physical and social contexts, as well as the developmental issues, is critical to programs aiming to optimize the full potential of digital tools that support and enhance the experiences of young children.

Introduction to High Tech Tots: Childhood in a Digital World, Ilene R. Berson and Michael J. Berson. New Technologies, Playful Experiences, and Multimodal Learning, Nicola Yelland. Young Children’s Technology Experiences in Multiple Contexts: Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory Reconsidered, X. Christine Wang, Ilene R. Berson, Candace Jaruszewicz, Lynn Hartle, and Dina Rosen. Tangible Programming in Early Childhood: Revisiting Developmental Assumptions through New Technologies, Marina Umaschi Bers and Michael S. Horn. Developing a Cybersafety Program for Early Childhood Education: A New Zealand Case Study, Richard Beach. Hector’s World: Educating Young Children about Life Online, Liz Butterfield. Is Social Networking the New “Online Playground” for Young Children? A Study of Rate Profiles in Estonia, Andra Siibak and Kadri Ugur. Youth Protection Online: Joint Efforts Are Needed, Jutta Croll and Katharina Kunze. Children and the Janusfaced Internet: Social Policy Implications for Mauritius as a Developing Country Case Study, Komalsingh Rambaree. Childhood, Cell Phones, and Health, Richard Chalfen. The One Laptop per Child Project and the Problems of Technology-Led Educational Development, Marcus Leaning. Webkinz as Consumerist Discourse: A Critical Ideological Analysis, Charlie Dellinger-Pate and Rosemarie J. Conforti. About the Authors.

"High-Tech Tots: Childhood in a Digital World is an edited book composed of twelve chapters, divided into four main categories, introduction, information and communication technology (ICT) as a teaching and learning tool, research on cybercitizenship education, and research on inappropriate digital technology for children. ... This book is intended for teachers, parents, and researchers. The reader will appreciate the positive view of the use of technology by children throughout the book. For instance, the use of new technology is viewed as an integral part of becoming multiliterate in the twenty-first century. Technology is seen as providing multimodal experiences that were not previously possible and should not be underestimated." Maria Eugenia Perez-Butron University of Texas at Brownsville in Education Review

"There is truly a global focus on the topic with articles on work in New Zealand, Africa, Europe, and North America. This book is a must read for practitioners and preprofessionals and the educators who prepare them." Association of College and Research Libraries in Choice

"This book is a must read for practitioners and preprofessionals and the educators who prepare the. Summing up: Essential. Upper-division graduates and above." C.L. Tannahill Eastern Connecticut State University in Choice