• The Open University

Childhood in the Digital Age

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

46,654 enrolled on this course

Childhood in the Digital Age - a child using a laptop
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

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.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds NARRATOR: 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 seconds Decades 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.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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?

I am Professor of 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

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

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control

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