WHY THE IS IMPORTANT THE GOOD USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR OUR CHILDREN?
ICT: The new information and communication technologies (ICTs) constitute those tools and programs that treat, administer, transmit and share information through technological supports.
The irruption of the Internet, social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc.), smart mobile phones or Smartphone, messaging applications such as WhatsApp and many other digital media and tools have caused great changes in our form to interact and communicate, to access and disseminate information, study, work, have fun and occupy free time. Some of the characteristics of these technologies (physical distancing, time management, immediacy or quick response, feedback, interactivity, dynamism or anonymity) are especially attractive for adolescents and young people, who find it easier to communicate through WhatsApp, the social networks or other digital media than to do it face to face (Castells, 2009; Echeburúa and de Corral, 2010; McKenna and Bargh, 2000).
The Internet and social networks are used by adolescents of both sexes to satisfy a series of critical psychological needs at this stage of development, such as: having a permanent communication channel that allows them to be visible to others, to be connected with their friends. , interact with their peers (either to establish new relationships or to maintain established relationships), consolidate the sense of belonging to the group, feel integrated, build and / or strengthen their personal and social identity and gain notoriety and influence (Castel, 2009 ; Kuss and Griffiths, 2011; Ryan et al., 2014). In addition, ICTs allow girls and boys to satisfy their need for independence and autonomy, to search for new sensations and experiences and to establish bonds or affective relationships without the barriers that face-to-face communication supposes for shy people or people with limited social skills. (Chóliz, 2017). For their part, social networks allow them to assume identities and live experiences and situations that would not be possible in the real world (being and doing what is not within their reach).
The feeling of belonging and group integration together with the pleasant sensation associated with the use of social networks and the Internet can stimulate a greater frequency and duration of browsing, which could lead to a problematic and / or addictive use of these tools, caused by a deficit behavioral self-regulation that results in regular and uncontrolled employment (Boyd, 2014; Ryan et al., 2014). Being permanently connected to the Internet and social networks (hyperconnectivity) is a cultural norm accepted by the majority of adolescents, one that defines this group (Kuss and Griffiths, 2017).
Recent research suggests that high commitment or involvement in the use of social networks is due to what has been called “fear of missing something” or fear of being excluded, a high level of this fear would act as a predictor of problematic use of social networks (Buglass et al., 2017; Gil, Chamarro and Oberst, 2016; Oberst et al., 2017).
In parallel to the increase in problematic or additive use cases of the Internet and social networks, it is observed how in these virtual spaces various risky or problematic behaviors are reproduced, such as cyberbullying, sexting, grooming, access to inappropriate content (violent, racist, pornographic, inciting hatred, etc.), inappropriate relationships with strangers, lack of privacy and / or dissemination of personal data or the improper use of them (Sánchez et al., 2015).
The repetition of certain behaviors and daily activities, in themselves innocuous, can generate addictive disorders that seriously interfere with the daily lives of those affected. These are the so-called behavioral addictions or non-substance addictions (Table 1), which include compulsive behaviors on social networks and the Internet, although there is no consensus on the matter among the scientific community. Symptoms of this possible addiction (Andreassen and Pallesen, 2014; Echeburúa, 2012; Echeburúa and de Corral, 2010; García del Castillo, 2013; Griffiths, 2005; Kuss and López-Fernández, 2016):
- Prominence (being connected to the Internet or interacting on social networks dominates the thought and behavior of the person).
- Modification of the mood (participating in these activities is associated with an improvement in mood or pleasant emotional states).
- Tolerance (need to progressively increase the connection time).
- Conflict (the activity generates conflicts in interpersonal relationships).
- Problems (family, academic, health, isolation, etc.).
- Abstinence (presence of unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms – irritability, anxiety, depression-
EDUCATIONAL GUIDELINES: WHAT CAN WE DO?
At school. It is important that students know:
- Carry out an analysis of the use of new technologies to help us detect good and bad browsing habits.
- Analyze the dimension of the Web 2.0 universe and the possibilities it offers us.
- Know and analyze the different types of violence and violence on the Internet. Expanding the field of vision, awareness of the situation. Thus helping to contextualize cyberbullying.
- Develop a commitment to solidarity with victims of online violence and a personal commitment to use them in a responsible way.
- Cyber rights: the e-rights of Children and adolescents in the new ICT context. Data protection, role of parents and educators.
- Knowledge of existing community resources to prevent and act against violence online.
- Promote the correct use of ICT through audiovisual works in order to guarantee the correct use of ICT.
- Channeling of feelings and emotions. Helping to express feelings and emotions.
- Work empathy and assertiveness skills with those who have a problem on the Internet. Overcome stereotypes and prejudices.
- Surf the Internet with your children, orient them on the most reliable pages, and teach them to navigate with a clear objective set in advance. Let them know that they should never provide personal data online.
- Select the video games your children play according to the PEGI standards (age and content). Do not forget to also supervise the games that are exchanged between friends. And play with them on occasion.
- Establish clear rules to regulate the use of the Internet, video games and mobile phones. It must be very clear when, how much and where they use them.
- Teach your children that the mobile is for short and urgent calls. Make them responsible for their consumption, which must always be limited and controlled by you.
- Make use of parental control programs both on the computer and on video consoles, to prevent your children from finding inappropriate content for their age.
- Stay abreast of the advances of New Technologies, so that the so-called digital divide does not represent an obstacle in your work to protect your children.
- Talk to your children, encourage positive communication and active listening.
- Educate them in the intelligent management of leisure and free time.
- Make an effort so that your children find in you the confidence and support to tell you about any problems.
- Don’t forget to be consistent and set an example in your interaction with New Technologies and always convey your unconditional love to your children.
Reference materials and resources