Vol. 2 No. 3; February 2012
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF INFORMATION-COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY USAGE FOR FOUR-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN, AND THE CONCEQUENCES OF ITS USAGE FOR THE CHILDRENS’ DEVELOPMENT
Jurka Lepičnik-Vodopivec, Ph.D. Associate professor University of Maribor Faculty of Arts Koroška cesta 160, 2000 Maribor Slovenia Pija Samec University of Maribor Faculty of Arts Koroška cesta 160, 2000 Maribor Slovenia Abstract Information-communication technologies (ICT) are a part of our world and we use them every day. They represent an important source of information about us and others, as well as about local and world events. Besides that, ICT can also be very attractive for pre-school children, who acquaint with them very quickly. This article presents advantages and disadvantages of ICT usage for a four-year-old pre-school child and its potential consequences for the child’s development. The data was collected with the help of 130 parents. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire and share their opinions about their four-year-old children’s usage of ICT at home. We found out that in the case of four-year-old children the usage of ICT has its advantages and disadvantages, and that the consequences of its usage (positive and negative) would be approximately the same. KEY WORDS: information-communication technology (ICT), pre-school child, advantages and disadvantages of
the usage of information-communication technology, consequences for the child’s development 1. INTRODUCTION
Information-communication technology (or ICT) is a common expression for a variety of different computer, information and communication devices (hardware), applications (software), networks (internet), and services. It is a general concept which encompasses all communication devices of the modern society and their usage. Its primary purpose is mediating information and enabling the communication process. When it comes to ICT, the internet and mobile technology, and their applications are most often considered (Pinterič and Grivec, 2007), but we have to stress that ICT does not include only computers and mobile phones, but is also present in many other types of technology, which can be encountered also by pre-school children. The broad ICT definition also includes a variety of everyday technologies, like: electronic toys, interactive whiteboards, playing consoles, various players and digital cameras … Put shortly, all types of technology that a child may encounter in its home environment and also uses them. Because of its nature, ICT already has numerous advantages. Besides using it for pleasure and entertainment, we also use it for study and work purposes. (Punie, 2007) ICT encourages learning; it motivates the individual and at the same time gives him (or her) the capability to do certain activities. Besides that, its presence betters the learning environment and enriches the learning experience. (Markovac and Rogulja, 2009) Punie (2007) claims that ICT enables the child to process the learning content in an entertaining and interesting way, while McPake, Stephen, Plowman, Sime and Downey (2005) have proved that the usage of ICT also develops the child’s competences. ICT is not only an educational tool, but also a supporting one, because it helps to develop children with special needs and behavioural problems. (Markovac and Rogulja, 2009) Besides that, it lays the foundation for long life learning and personal development, because among other things it also develops the digital competence and technical competences, which are needed for employment, education, self-development, and general activeness in the modern society. 54
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(Punie, 2007) Plowman and Stephen (2003) claim that the usage of ICT is essential for the child, because it can help him (or her) integrate in the “e-society”, meanwhile the child can use its...