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Online course

Childhood in the Digital Age

Delve into the lives of children and discuss the potential benefits and limitations of technology in their lives.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course

Find out more

Childhood in the Digital Age

Why join the course?

Are you a technology optimist or a technology pessimist?

The amount of technology available to children today is greater than in any previous generation, and it is more specifically designed to capture their imaginations. There is heated debate as to how the digital influx is shaping children’s development and experience.

Are social media changing the way that children form relationships? How is technology changing the way that children think, and how will it shape the classroom of the future? This exciting new course pulls together the latest evidence from experts in the field to explore these and other questions.

Join us as we delve into the lives of children and discuss the potential benefits and limitations of technology in their lives.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsNARRATOR: How is technology changing childhood in the digital age? The media has claimed that digital technology is making children lonelier, fatter, more aggressive and less capable of deep thought but research suggests that it could offer opportunities for children to be happier, better educated and more connected to others. As a new parent I worry that technology is changing so fast it might outstrip my ability to support my son's learning over the coming years. How can I ensure that he benefits from the advantages of technology but shield him from the dangers? What games should I let him play? How should he communicate with friends? How much screen time is too much and why?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsDecades of research in child psychology and childhood studies has helped to find what shapes modern childhood. We'll draw on this research to try and make sense of competing claims made by the media, technology companies and new research in this exciting but controversial area. We'll explore how technology is changing the way that three to fourteen year olds socialise, think, and learn. Are childrens' lives today significantly different from our own or is technology simply solving old problems in new ways? If you are a parent, a teacher, or simply interested in this past moving debate then get involved in the discussion as we explore the real impact of technology on children in the digital age.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Discuss the ways in which technology is shaping the lives of young children and the advantages/disadvantages that social media can offer.
  • Explore the ways in which we can mediate the potential risks associated with children’s engagement with digital technologies.
  • Discuss and challenge ideas and opinions around the influence of technology for education and learning.
  • Identify and exchange ideas with others about the role of technology in developing children’s social, thinking and emotional skills.

Who is the course for?

The course is intended for anyone with a general interest in childhood studies, early childhood, education studies and child psychology and does not require any prior experience of studying this subject.

Who will you learn with?

John Oates

I am senior lecturer in developmental psychology at the Open University. My research specialises in early childhood. I am involved in various applied activities in England, Hungary and other nations

Nathalia Gjersoe

I am a developmental psychologist at the Open University. I have a special interest in how children learn to think scientifically and what makes science difficult to learn.

Who developed the course?

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

$54.00