Adults on the playground: shaperons, playmates or drama directors?


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A presentation by PhD. Kadri Ugur in My Media Playground seminar 14th February 2013 in Tampere Finland

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Adults on the playground: shaperons, playmates or drama directors?

  1. 1. Adults on the playground:chaperons, playmates, drama directors? Kadri Ugur University of Tartu
  2. 2. Background• New media has influence on many forms of human activities – Mutual communication – Dealing with information – Entertainment and fun• Different people “adopt” new media possibilities with different speed – There are some generation gaps
  3. 3. General observations• Children adopt new technologies seemingly easily• Adults seem to be more intimidated by new technology• Childrens’ safety online is politically big issue and provides good material for all kinds of adult media
  4. 4. Types of play• Caillois 1961 – Agon – competition – Alea – chance – Mimicry – role playing – Ilinx - vertigo• Corsaro 1998: – Spontaneous fantasy play – Socio-dramatic role play – Games with rules – Games of socialization
  5. 5. Internet as playground• Children and teenagers use Internet often as playground for different role- playing. – Exploring feedback for different actions – Using different masks – Learning about their own sexuality• The condition of ”seemless fun” is to understand rules and codes – What is true and creative self expression, what is rather playful
  6. 6. Parental mediation• Parents/adults have responsibility as mediators of social rules, e.g. How to be safe on the internet• Livingston & Haddon, 2011: – Yet parents face some dilemmas. Should they be more restrictive or more enabling? Do they understand the internet well enough to guide their child? Should they treat the internet like television or other media, or is it different? What are the technical options available to them?• Kalmus & von Feilitzen & Siibak, 2012 – mediation by peers (and parents and teachers) is triggered after a child had a negative online experience.
  7. 7. Parenting in Estonia• Transiton society – Emergence of new media happened simultaneously with major changes in the society• Historical background of cultural interruptions – In 20th century Estonia had to adopt several ideological and cultural interruptions of continuity – In many cases adults felt that kids safety is more protected if they are not aware of parents’ values and memories – Soviet ideology idealized youth – Tiger Leap program in 1990s supported the idea that children are “naturals” in the internet• How to be an adult in the Internet?
  8. 8. Adults on the playground• Chaperon – An older person accompanying youg girls in public places – Mediator of social norms; protector and guard• Drama director – Critical but supportive follower of actio who can interrupt – Protects and supports “protagonists’” own agenda – Takes a distance when protagonist feels able to carry on• Playmate – Equal partner on the playground who follows same rules – Only bigger…
  9. 9. Kids’ view on adults’ roles• Siibak & Ugur 2009 and follow-up research – Adults as playmates are creepy and ... Just creepy – Adults acting out their fears feel helpless and untrustworthy – Adults who just leave children alone are sometimes disappointing (why did she abandone me?) – Adults who try to rule online playgrounds seem sometimes silly. They don’t understand.
  10. 10. How to...?• Finding an adequate parenting style is challenge – Lack of knowledge about what is happening in playgrounds, what are the risks, what is right – Emotional distress of feeling not secure enough as a parent/teacher/adult – Fear of loosing contact, being too restrictive or too trusting – Feeling old and out-of-date• How to be normal adult in 21st century?
  11. 11. Non-judgemental conversation• Verbalizing observations – You laughed today at something on Facebook.• Expressing own interpretations – You seemed a little quiet to me.• Asking open questions – What kind of feedback did you get?• Reflecting partner’s words – So you say you are willing to meet this guy from FB.• Avoiding arguments – In your opinion this photo is not too revealing. In that point I disagree.• Not making too much fuzz
  12. 12. Comparing stylesJudgemental Non-judgementalWhat are you laughing at? Who You laughed today at somethingare you talking to? on Facebook.What happened? Who made You seemed a little quiet to sad?Have you got any more nasty What kind of feedback did youfeedback? get?You can not meet this guy – he So you say you are willing tocan be some kind of pervo. meet this guy from FBI do not let you to put this photo In your opinion this photo is notonline! too revealing. In that point I disagree.
  13. 13. Discussion• Childrens’ safety online is unseparable from their welfare “in real life” – New media is very real life for young people• Children need adults act like adults and keep being responsible grown-ups – Young tigers still need mamas• Parenting and teaching styles need concious work from adults – Being aware of gaps of information and personal fears• Cultural differences in global village – Idea for further research
  14. 14. Sources• Caillois, R. (2001) Man, Play and Games. (Meyer Barash, Trans). Urbana, Chicago; University of Illinois Press• Corsaro, W.A. (1997). The Sociology of Childhood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press• Garmendia, M., Gartaonandia, C., Martínez, G., & Casado, M. Á. (2012). The effectiveness of parental mediation. In S. Livingstone, & L. Haddon (Eds.), Children, risk and safety on the internet. Bristol: The Policy Press.• Kalmus, V., von Feilitzen, C., & Siibak, A. (2012). Effectiveness of teachers and peers mediation in supporting opportunities and reducing risks online. In S. Livingstone, & L. G. Haddon, Children, risk and safety on the internet: Research and policy challenges in comparative perspective (pp. 245-256). Bristol: The Polici Press.
  15. 15. • Livingstone, S., & Haddon, L. (2011). . Retrieved 2013, 3-February from• Moreno, J.L. – oral and written heritage• Siibak, A., Ugur, K. (2009). Is social netwoeking the new “online playground” for young children? A study of Rate profile in Estonia”. Berson, I. & Berson, M. (Eds.) High-tech Tots: Childhood in a Digital World (pp 125-152). Information Age Publishing