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Don't worry, technology is not taking over children's lives

By Tim Sandle     Dec 22, 2017 in Technology
Oxford - Worried by the amount of time your child is glued to a device screen? You can probably relax. A new study shows that technology not taking over children's lives; this is despite a screen-time increase.
The empirical evidence is clear: children are spending increasing amounts of time using screen-based devices. From this many assume this type of technology - smartphones, tablets, video games - is taking over their lives in a way that's detrimental and which excludes other activities.
This assumption is wrong, according to University of Oxford sociologists. Instead these newer digital past-times have become intertwined with daily life. What's happened is that children have adapted their behaviors and their other activities to include their devices. In other words, the younger generation multi-task carrying out all the things that they would do anyway.
Peering deeper into the research there is a gender difference: boys are spending more time playing video games than girls and hence boys are more vulnerable to an imbalance in activities than girls. This does not mean, however, that all boys have less balanced lives than girls.
The research analysis is based on comparing surveys across two time periods: the U.K. Time Use Surveys 2000-01 and 2014-15. The prevalence of technology is obviously greater across the time period of the second study. With both surveys, selected children filled out a diary, recording the sequence of activities they engage in throughout their day.
Commenting on the research, lead scientist Dr. Killian Mullan said: "While this is undeniably a considerable amount of time, taken with context it suggests less cause for alarm. In fact, the study reveals that rather than allowing their devices to take over their lives, as some research suggests, children are combining the use of new technology with other activities."
The new research has been published in the journal Child Indicators Research. The peer reviewed study is called "Technology and Children’s Screen-Based Activities in the UK: The Story of the Millennium So Far."
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