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CHILDREN'S CHOICES: THE TECHNOLOGY CHOICES THAT CHILDREN MAKE WITHIN THEIR FREE TIME. INFLUENCES AND IMPLICATIONS

D. O'Connor1, C. Robinson McGunnigle1, M. McCormack2, V. O'Rourke3

1The University of Notre Dame (AUSTRALIA)
2Dublin City University (IRELAND)
3Letterkenny Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
The Irish Neighbourhood Play Research Project included almost 1700 families and 240 communities throughout Ireland. Using parental surveys and naturalistic observation, data was secured on how children in modern Ireland aged 0-15 are spending their free time. An all-island approach was taken incorporating cities, towns and rural areas across a variety of socio-economic groupings.

Interesting findings arose from the data relating to the choices that children are making within their free time. This paper focuses on the choices they are making within technology use. Data on the children’s technological engagement will be presented and discussed through a child development lens. The positive and negative implications for both learning and development are raised. Can the use of technology for this group prove to be a barrier to learning and an impediment to healthy development? This generation of children will be the first to emerge into adulthood without ever experiencing a world without technology. For them, it will always have been central to their existence. As childhood is the life phase for core development, what does this mean for the next generation of humanity?