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Session 3

If you can't get your phone to work properly, do you ask a 10-year-old to fix it? Do your kids spend more time online than you do? In this session you'll read an article about children and technology that asks: Do we need to save our youngsters from the digital world? Read on and find out!

Sessions in this unit

Session 3 score

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Techno troubles

Is technology good for kids?

Have you ever counted how much time you spend online? If you have children, do you limit the amount of time they spend on their devices? More and more kids today are using technology at school, at home and in the playground. But what effect will it have on the way children grow up? In this article you’ll read about how this digital world might change our lives and the lives of our children.

To do

Question: While you read, try to answer this question: According to the article, is technology likely to have a positive or a negative effect on the lives of children in the future?

Read the text and complete the activity

Do we need to rescue our kids from the digital world?

Paragraph one
The lone child sitting in their room using a tablet computer is a situation that is becoming more and more common. Today’s youngsters use smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices more than ever before. And the amount of time they spend on these devices is only likely to increase in the future. The lives of children nowadays are completely different to the childhoods of older generations. But are all these changes good? What are the dangers of the digital childhood - and can they be avoided?

Paragraph two
We sometimes call children who grow up able to use mobile devices and technology easily digital natives. They know how the digital world works. They can text, email, get wi-fi, download and stream television programmes and movies. Some experts say that their brains might even develop differently because of their use of technology. Long periods of time spent chatting to friends online, playing video games and listening to mp3s, for example, may possibly change how their brains work.

Paragraph three
Then there is the question of privacy. All this online activity creates a digital footprint: the collection of data or information by all of the devices and online services that we use. Every time we share a photo or a post on social media, and every time we search for something on the internet, information about our activity is stored somewhere. Today's children are creating a very large digital footprint - but will they be able to control who has access to this information in the future?

Paragraph four
Our inability to control what happens to our children's digital footprint - and their personal privacy - has big implications. It might become normal for companies to ask their employees for their social media credentials. We are also becoming more aware that companies and governments may be able to 'listen in' on our communications. So it is important to teach our children how their online activities are connected with their daily lives - and make them aware of the possible results of oversharing. The future may bring laws to ensure our 'right to be forgotten' but in the meantime, do we know what these companies and governments are likely to do with our children's information?

Paragraph five
Another area where the digital world may have a big impact is in education. One worry is that kids who spend a lot of time online at home are sometimes unable to socialise properly with other children when they are at school. This may be one reason why, according to some experts, many teachers are still sceptical about technology in classrooms, which (some say) haven’t changed in centuries, even though children don’t learn and study in the same way that they did in the past. Other experts point out that, when it comes to children and technology, the children are the experts, not the teachers. They say that we should stop seeing online as 'bad' and offline as 'good' - and there is evidence of innovative work in some schools.

Paragraph six
So, do we really need to rescue our children from the dangers of the digital world? Or are there benefits to spending time on different devices and online? Although they might be affected by computer addiction and loss of social skills, our children might also be the smartest generation ever.

This article is based on an original BBC News story.

Answer: Did you work it out? The article said that technology may have a positive and a negative effect on children's lives in the future. Some of the positives: children will be able to do many things online and some schools are using technology to do things in new ways. Some of the negatives: some children cannot socialise properly because of spending so much time online, and sharing too much information online might be dangerous. The article doesn't say that technology is 100% good or 100% bad.

To do

See how much you understood about the digital world of kids in our quiz!

Digital danger quiz!

8 Questions

Are our children in danger from the digital world? Answer these questions and see if you can succeed online!

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End of Session 3

We hope you enjoyed reading about all these digital developments. Are you going to be more careful about sharing information online - or do you think that the digital world will be safer in the future? In session 4 we hear some more predictions about our digital future - and then it's over to you to make some predictions of your own. Will you join us in Session 4? We think you're likely to enjoy it! 

Session Vocabulary

  • online
    on the internet

    control something so it does not go over a certain level

    machines that have been made for a particular purpose, for example to access the internet

    relating to the use of computer and internet technology


    on its own

    digital natives
    children who grow up with digital technologies all around them

    (here) watch on the internet

    a type of digital audio file

    being private; doing things without other people seeing, hearing or knowing

    digital footprint

    the data that is collected and recorded from someone using devices and the internet


    the right or ability to use something

    possible future effects

    usernames and passwords you need to use a device or internet service

    sharing too much information

    effect, result

    not convinced about something

    newer and more advanced, able to do things better