Over the years, digital media has rapidly evolved, influencing people’s lives in ways that allow them to communicate, entertain, and learn. As a result, kids today are immersed in online media, interacting with platforms that allow them to both consume and create content. A vast majority of two-year-olds used mobile devices daily, and many one-year-olds had already used a mobile device (Mott children's Hospital, 2015). As a person who creates platforms for these contents, I feel the need to talk about how children should associate with content online.
Digital media has both positive and negative effects on early childhood. In today’s digital age, children can access and interact with content online through electronic devices, exposing them to a variety of platforms for entertainment, educational content, and channels to improve their social skills. However, children today experience a lack of focus, violent behaviours, guilt, and cyberbullying through digital media which can affect their growth to adulthood (Brown, 2011).
In this report, preschoolers were using two or more forms of digital media at the same time, such as watching television while using an iPad. This shows that children are introduced to digital media at an early stage in child development. One of the first internet activities that children engage in is video viewing (Holloway,2013). Exposure to information online can have a positive influence on child development. According to Mental Up (2021), an increase in intelligence quotient, mental ability enhancement, learning advancement, and problem-solving skills are all benefits of young kids using the internet. This shows that digital content improves IQ and learning skills, increases mental skill, enhance learning capacity, and builds problem-solving abilities. Platforms such as YouTube, ABC mouse, Adventure Academy, and hooked on Phonics offer a range of educational and entertainment videos for children that have influenced children positively.
Nonetheless, digital information has some negative effects on children. One in every ten children aged eight to eleven who go online say they have seen something disturbing or unpleasant online in the past year (Office of Communications, 2016). The harmful effects of digital media content on child development have been associated with lack of attention, aggressive behaviours, lack of physical activity, obesity, and sleep difficulties in children. This proves that many children are exposed to potentially harmful content on the internet. A good example of this type of content are videos of Mickey Mouse in a pool of blood and Spider-Man urinating on Elsa which caused an uproar in 2017 (Bever, 2019).
In terms of learning, mental ability, imagination, and problem-solving, digital media has a positive influence on young children. Nonetheless, it may have some harmful effects, such as insomnia, hostile characters, and a reduced ability to focus. It is critical to highlight the importance of exposing children to the web and how digital media can influence their growth. This calls for a safe and secure digital space free of damaging information for children. Parents and caregivers should take appropriate precautions to protect children from being exposed to harmful content on the internet by monitoring children’s social media and internet activity, implementing privacy and security features, and dealing with inappropriate content exposure.
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