We are pleased to launch our qualitative report based on interviews and focus groups with children, parents, teachers and youth workers in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK.
For better or for worse, portable devices like tablets and especially smartphones, have the power to enhance children’s internet experiences. Although adults’ regulation by parents and teachers do restrict their use, children in general appreciate the way new devices enable them to communicate more easily, look up information, and in general have more diverse ways of following up there interests online.
But that very ease is also the downside. So while many children believe they are more sociable since they have had a smartphone, they also report being annoyed by having to be constantly available to peers, distracted by constant notifications and tempted to use the technologies to the detriment of their other offline interests. This also meant a number were critical of peers who supposedly spending time ‘together’ but in practice are writing textual messages to others not present – captured in such phrases as ‘If you wanted to do that you could have stayed at home! In some ways, children are clearly not so different from adults. […]
In other words, the arrival of portable devices mean there are more things to take into account, more things to be careful of, more things to manage. And in no small measure one of the most striking things children mention, apart from complaining about some hidden costs of apps, is simply trying to avoid losing these devices or having them stolen, now that they are carrying such expensive items with them.
Edited by Leslie Haddon and Jane Vincent, the full qualitative report is available for download here.