Tablet computers and smartphones enable young children to use digital media and different online applications without a mouse or a keyboard. There are only a few findings available on the status of mobile Internet usage in children’s everyday lives and on the attitude of parents and pedagogues regarding the mobile online access and their children’s usage. More specifically, how they deal with the topic in everyday family life or in school and how far they (are able to to) keep up with their children’s Internet use when this increasingly exceeds their visual range or, in the case of school, takes up more and more space. These and other questions are focused on in the framework of a qualitative study which encompasses children aged 2 to 16 years, as well as parents and teachers, about the role of mobile media within families.
The findings show that pre-school and primary-school children use tablet computers and smartphones as family devices to look at pictures, to watch videos or to play games if their parents allowed it. Children aged 7 to 14 usually have their own smartphone to communicate via instant messaging services such as WhatsApp or social networks like Facebook. For parents, the motivation to get their children a mobile phone is the transition from primary school to secondary school. However, mobile devices have not found their way into schools yet. Schools usually do not allow their students to use mobile phones on school grounds and do not systematically include the devices in class, although pedagogues who have been interviewed are in favour of this idea.
The project was funded by the by the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ) [the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth].
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society