Over the years, information has become digitalised and mainstream. This digitalisation has affected the way kids live and learn. Today’s media has become a crucial part of kids’ activities. It impacts their day-to-day lives, education, and socialisation positively and negatively.
The digitalisation of their learning method was greatly speeded up by the need of the last crisis. Kids have had to rely on social media to maintain their friendships and interact with their mates. New media’s reach has grown exponentially. From language apps to Twitter or Tiktok, and from virtual teaching to e-learning software.
In this article, you’ll comprehend the meaning of new media. It will also answer your questions about how it affects the lives and learning process of kids today.
What Does New Media Mean?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this article, we need first to understand what new media means. It is the overlapping of traditional media like novels, television, and radio with digital media. This intersection is usually with interactive and social communication media (Jenkins, 2006). In simple terms, it is any content made using electronic communication .i.e. digital sharing and internet accessibility.
Such content, unlike old or traditional media, can be interacted with in real-time. The interactions could take the form of comments and online sharing. Some examples of new media are podcasts, social media, virtual classrooms, and animations.
As technology advances forward, several new media products target kids as an age group. This move is in line with (Chudacoff, 1989) who opined that the use of age groups has become a way of defining whole populations of people.
Effects of New Media
New media is not some outside force that determines culture or an individual. It has become a vehicle for social, political and cultural relationships among kids (Hine, 2000). There have been several effects on the way kids live and learn with the growth in technology.
Some receive positive praise. Meanwhile, others have raised concerns among researchers, parents, and teachers alike. This section will discuss some of the positive effects on kids’ lives and education.
One impact of new media in kids’ lives is in the maintenance of friendships and connections. For kids, virtual and online spaces mean just as much as the real ones. More so as children are cooped up indoors and away from real-world places during the last years. Despite this separation, their friendships continue to thrive.
Text messages, instant messages, social media apps such as Twitter, Facebook, etc., help them stay in contact with each other. The “always on” component of new media (Baron, 2008) makes it possible for kids to be able to have access to each other. They can reach out, stay in touch passively and actively-no matter the differences in time zones and geographical locations. This feature of new media fosters connectedness.
2. The Digitalisation of The Learning Process
In the past, kids could only be educated or informed by parents, teachers or reading hard copies to which they had access. This method yielded limited information and slowed down the pace of learning. It was also tedious and boring to most kids.
With new media, the learning process has taken a paradigm shift. Access to online libraries, YouTube videos and a simple click on a Google search bar expose kids to many learning resources. Those interested in a higher curriculum or a niche can quickly sign up for classes via e-learning. Some of the e-learning platforms used Coursera, Udemy, etc.
Peer-based and interest-based learning has become a thing. Kids are constantly creating groups on new media to teach themselves things they share a common interest in. This method of learning is more fun, interactive, and yields better retention.
The pandemic is keeping kids out of school, forcing educators to move school work onto new media. Teachers agree that the move is beneficial. It improved coverage, feedback, and participation. The learning pace has also leapt forward with the incorporation of new media.
3. Increased Productivity And Creativity
With the unlimited resources provided by new media, kids can improve their craft. Time spent working on their interests boosts productivity levels. They can digitally distribute these crafts so viewers can give feedback.
The feedback pushes kids to make necessary changes and improvements to please their viewers. This continuous play at one’s craft improves creative skills and productivity. The skills can be applied to future careers and are evident on TikTok, Soundcloud, Wattpad, etc.
4. Internet Communities
Abbot (1998) agrees that new media is another efficient means of connecting with friends and mates. ‘Virtual’ spaces can be safe spaces. It has made it possible for marginalised kids to find communities online. An example, LGBTQ kids. These online communities outside the local ones are easier to locate. They help these kids adapt and understand better.
5. Culture And Identity
The interconnection between kids through social media has contributed significantly to their development. Their taste in fashion, music, political and religious beliefs are influenced by media sharing. Another influence is real-time feedback through social media. Technology has helped in shaping their identities. It has also helped them learn more about their culture and that of their peers.
You also notice a change in the language culture. Kids have adopted a more informal language in their daily lives. Their channels of communication are also casual. Baron (2008) talked about the changes to reading and writing patterns due to online communications.
It is evident that as technology improves, media will continue to evolve. This constant change will continue to impact the everyday lives and education of kids. Adults and educators shouldn’t oppose the use of new media. It should not be canceled as the possibilities are endless.
It would be in our best interest to listen to the kids and learn about their experiences. This way, they can become co-participants in the use of new media. More adult co-participants would lead to the co-production of new media. As such, this would result in the overall development of kids.
By David Adeyemo SEO & Content Marketing Specialist.
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