The best ways to teach your child how to use the internet is to use it in the right way, but how to do that is even more important, according to a study by researchers at the University of Cambridge.
The research team, led by University of California, Berkeley, PhD student Shauna Kline, examined how the internet affects the way children learn and remember.
The study is part of the International Centre for the Study of Child Development’s (ICSCD) Cyber-Learning Project, which aims to create better internet access for the entire child.
It found that the internet, for children in particular, is a key tool in their learning and memory, with more than 50 percent of the children in the study using the internet for the first time.
The most common learning and learning-related behaviours are “engaging with the internet”, “using it as a learning tool”, and “playing with it”.
“The internet can have a huge impact on children’s social interactions, in particular with the development of communication skills, and can also provide access to resources and activities that have not previously been available to children,” said Kline.
She added that a key aspect of the study was that children’s exposure to the internet was “modest” compared to other types of media, like television or movies.
While the researchers’ findings highlight that “children’s exposure and use of the internet has increased in recent years, this does not necessarily mean that children are learning better,” they added.
“Rather, our findings show that internet access is a critical resource for children’s learning and that this is reflected in the child’s ability to learn new concepts, and use the web as a tool for learning and remembering,” they said.
“In this way, the results provide important insight into how the development and use and enjoyment of the digital environment impact children’s lives.”
The ICSCD researchers also discovered that “childhood digital media use is linked to a wider range of socio-emotional problems in children”.
These included: being hyper-vigilant about digital information, being less receptive to media, and being less engaged in their digital environments, the study said.
The researchers hope that the findings can be translated into action to help parents and teachers make sure their children are using the right types of devices to access the internet.
“There are currently no clear guidelines about how to make children use the Internet safely,” Kline said.
“However, the internet provides a rich and accessible source of interactive learning for children, and parents should take every opportunity to teach their children the importance of the technology and the benefits of using it.”
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