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Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age

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What is the nature of childhood today? On a number of measures, modern children’s lives have clearly improved thanks to better public safety and support for their physical and mental health. New technologies help children to learn, socialise and unwind,and older, better-educated parents are increasingly playing an active role in their children's education. At the same time, we are more connected than ever before, and many children have access to tablets and smartphones before they learn to walk and talk. Twenty-first century children are more likely to be only children, increasingly pushed to do more by “helicopter parents” who hover over their children to protect them from potential harm. In addition to limitless online opportunities, the omnipresent nature of the digital world brings new risks, like cyber-bullying, that follow children from the schoolyard into their homes.This report examines modern childhood, looking specifically at the intersection between emotional well-being and new technologies.It explores how parenting and friendships have changed in the digital age. It examines children as digital citizens, and how best to take advantage of online opportunities while minimising the risks. The volume ends with a look at how to foster digital literacy and resilience, highlighting the role of partnerships, policy and protection.

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Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age

  1. 1. Centre for Educational Research and Innovation https://doi.org/10.1787/b7f33425-en Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well- Being in the Digital Age
  2. 2.  What is the nature of childhood in the 21st century?  How can we protect and guide children while still allowing them to be children, and learn by making mistakes?  What does this mean for teaching and learning? Central questions
  3. 3.  Deliberately multi-disciplinary, drawing from a number of different policy and research traditions.  Takes a lifespan approach, looking at childhood (ages 0-18) as a whole. Approach
  4. 4. 4 Main themes Physical Health • Play • Eating habits • Alcohol/drug use • Sleep Technology • Digital divide • Information as power • Social networks • Cyber risks Emotional well-being • Stress • Mental health • Social/emotional skills • Life satisfaction Families and peers • Changing values • Diverse families • Ageing parents • Role of peers
  5. 5. 5 Recently published Modern Childhood Digital technologies Emotional well-being Policies, partnerships & protection 21st century relationships
  6. 6. Centre for Educational Research and Innovation PA R T O N E 21st century trends in digital technologies and emotional well-being P A R T F O U R Policies and partnerships promoting digital skills, safety and well-being PA RT T W O Children’s relationships and support structures – family and peers in the digital age Online opportunities and risks and ensuring child well-being P A R T T H R E E PA R T F I V E The pending agenda: Knowledge gaps, the future, and policy options
  7. 7. Trends in emotional well-being and digital technologies 7
  8. 8. Emotional well-being is the quality of an individual's emotions and experiences that leads to unpleasant or pleasant feelings. It is a core component of positive mental health and happiness.  Childhood & adolescence are key times for development – “Sensitive periods” where the brain is highly malleable or “plastic” facilitate rapid learning and growth – Opportunities and risks for mental health and well-being  Adverse experiences in childhood have repercussions for emotional well-being in childhood and later in life  Almost 50% of adult mental health problems begin by age 14 8 Importance of emotional well-being in childhood Source: Burns, T. & Gottschalk, F. eds. (2019). Chapter 3. Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age.
  9. 9. 9 Emotional well-being: Trends Decreasing levels of Increasing levels of No significant change Suicide Bullying** Pressure* Internalizing behaviours (depression, anxiety) Average life satisfaction Somatic complaint *no change from 1994-2002 **does not include cyberbullyingSource: Burns, T. & Gottschalk, F. eds. (2019). Chapter 3. Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age.
  10. 10. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Fear/anxiety of threats Low life satisfaction Loneliness/isolation Self-harm SHC Eating disorders Low self-esteem Appearance pressure Suicide Relationship stress Mental illness School-related anxiety Bullying (incl. cyber) Which of the following are challenges in children's emotional well-being in your context? Of these challenges, which are the three most pressing? Marked as challenge Marked as most pressing challenge Overview of priorities and pressing challenges in emotional well- being across countries and systems Source: Burns, T. & Gottschalk, F. eds. (2019). Chapter 3. Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age.
  11. 11. 11 Digital technologies: Trends Increased access Making friends Children as content creators Increased time spent online Use in young children Instagram, Snapchat > Facebook Rise of IoT and AI Feeling bad when not connected Exposure to risk* 2nd digital divide *exposure to risk can help build resilience Source: Burns, T. & Gottschalk, F. eds. (2019). Chapter 2. Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age.
  12. 12. Overview of priorities and pressing challenges in digital technologies across countries and systems 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Revenge Porn First Digital Divide Online Predators Sexting Security and Privacy Harmful Content Internet Addiction/Gaming Disorder Second Digital Divide Excessive Use Cyber-Bullying Digital Citizenship Which of the following are challenges in children's use of digital technologies in your context? Of these challenges, which are the three most pressing? Marked as a challenge Marked as pressing challenge Source: Burns, T. & Gottschalk, F. eds. (2019). Chapter 2. Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age.
  13. 13. Relationships in the 21st century: Families and peers 13
  14. 14. 14 Families and peers: Traditional parenting styles Neglectful Authoritarian Permissive Authoritative • Effective communication, praise for good behaviour, discipline for poor behaviour • Associated with high academic achievement, greater self-esteem and self-efficacy Parents who are demanding and responsive • Tend to use power, prohibition and punishment to control children • Associated with depressive symptoms and negative effects on child mental health Parents who are demanding yet not responsive • Accepting, loving and non-punitive with few rules and standards; emphasis on freedom>responsibility • Associated with lower academic achievement, and in some cultures higher self-esteem Parents who are very responsive but not demanding • Little supervision, no expectations for behaviour, little to no affection and support • Associated with low levels of academic achievement, aggression, disruption and emotional problems Parents who are neither demanding nor responsive
  15. 15. 15 Evolution of parenting styles
  16. 16. 16 Helicopter parenting around the world
  17. 17. 17 Making friends Traditional friendships • Do not replace, but supplement “offline” friendships • Can increase closeness in traditional friendships • Higher heterogeneity in social network (age, gender, location) • Reduced need for proximity • Often based on narrow shared interests Virtual & mixed-mode friendships Children befriend those similar to them Homophily Physical proximity allows for hanging out and doing activities together Proximity Children are more likely to befriend popular children Status Children befriend those who they feel socially attracted to Social attraction • Demographic characteristics (race, age, religion, gender) more important than similar personality • Social attraction more salient than in online relationships • Generally higher quality than purely virtual friendships
  18. 18. Main findings 18
  19. 19. 19 Main findings: Promoting digital inclusion Ensure access Develop skills Digital citizenship • National broadband plans • School-provided devices • ICT infrastructure • Curriculum development and expansion • Teacher education • Partnerships • Information campaigns • Curriculum development and expansion • Learning frameworks • School-based interventions • Teacher education • Extracurricular opportunities • Online resources
  20. 20. 20 Main findings: Transversal themes Disconnect between research and policy Fragmented definitions of key terms Effective solutions require capacity Multi-dimensional challenges require integrated solutions Local, national, regional, international cooperation
  21. 21. 21 Main findings: Building capacity through key partnerships 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Experts in cybersecurity Programmers Fitness professionals (e.g. coaches, trainers) Dieticians/nutrition experts Community institutions Law enforcement Dentists Guidance counselors Medical practitioners (e.g. doctors, nurses) Mental health professionals (e.g. psychologists, therapists) Parents/families Required (by recommendations, standards, or law) Present in most schools Present in some schools Not widely established Source: Burns, T. & Gottschalk, F. eds. (2019). Chapter 13. Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age.
  22. 22. 22 Main findings: Building capacity through teacher education 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Emotional well-being of students Digital skills and ability to use technology Use of technology in teaching Assessing online risks to students Required (by national curriculum, standards or other) Covered in most programmes Covered in some programmes Not widely available Source: Burns, T. & Gottschalk, F. eds. (2019). Chapter 13. Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age.
  23. 23. We need to: 1. Refine our terms and measurements in order to improve analysis and policy; for example, when we talk about “digital literacy” and “resilience” 2. Address policy fragmentation 3. Acknowledge the importance of culture, tradition and priorities 4. Adequately support our teachers 5. Include the voices of children 6. Acknowledge that education cannot do it alone 7. Insist on alignment between evaluation, assessment and policy planning and design 23 Main findings: 7 key policy messages
  24. 24.  Improve data and refine terms  Create and support networks to foster dialogue and dissemination, and improve interdisciplinary nature of knowledge base  Target and fund high quality, rigorous research – Longitudinal work – Controlled experiments – Comparable international indicators – Utilise big data – Understand real world implications of research outcomes 24 Main findings: Need for strengthening the knowledge base
  25. 25. Thank you! http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/21st-century-children.htm

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