Background. The ubiquity of ICTs, the decrease in the age at which digital devices began to be used, the sensitivity of the periods of preschool and primary school age, the extremely high importance of parental position regarding the use of digital devices by young children, with insufficient scientific development of this problem, necessitates obtaining and analyzing empirical data on the use of digital technologies in Russian families with preschool- and primary school- aged children.
Objective. Investigation of the ICTs usage in families with children of preschool (5-7 years old) and primary school (8-11 years old) age.
Design. The at-home study (N=100 parental-child dyads) consisted of a semi-structured interview for preschoolers and questionnaires for primary school aged children and parents of both age groups. It included questions about the level of user activity, digital initiation and culture, digital competency, parental mediation, online risks, psychological well-being and parent-child relationships .
Results. On weekdays, two-thirds (62-64%) of children aged 5–11 spend max. 1 hour on the Internet, and the rest of them spend max. 3 hours. On weekends, 48% of children of 5–11 years old spend online 1–3 hours, with 8% of preschool children and 18% of primary school children spending >3 hours. 5–7 aged children mostly use tablets, while 7–11 olders prefer smartphones. In both age groups, the leading form of digital activity is watching cartoons and videos. Children’s digital games evolve from interest in interacting with objects to preference for role-playing games. 7–1 aged kids begin to explore social networks, and use the Internet for study. 46% of 5–7 year children (46%), and 60% of 8–11 aged children have encountered online risks. Technical and content risks (pop-up banners and videos, frightening and pornographic content, viruses) prevail. 12% of primary school students encounter communication risks as well.
Most parents of preschoolers (70%) choose a strategy of being nearby their child using the Internet. In families with 8–11 aged children, adults are more tend to purposefully educate their child to use online technologies. A third of all adults surveyed admit to being insecure in the issue of online safety.
Available Online: 12/31/2019
In contemporary world, the digital competence of adolescents is not a separate property or capacity any longer, becoming the prerequisite and basis for many types of activities, and the Internet has become a space mediating socialization of children. Russian population study indicated that there is a «gap» in the structure of motivation to improve digital competence: although every four teenagers from five ones declare preparedness for its development, their motivation in relation to specific goals and objectives is extremely low and does not exceed 20 per cent of the maximum possible level. The paper assumes that the «gap» is caused by different contents of general and specific motivation: general motivation describes great awareness of the importance and the declared preparedness, while specific motivation refers to the setting of specific goals. Applying the Digital Competence Index (DCI) in the samples of adolescents 12-17 years old (N=1203) and of parents of adolescents of the same age (N=1208) the relationship between general and specific motivation to improve digital competences and their links to the user’s activity, confidence, emotions, self-image on the Internet and its familiarization are considered. A high level of digital competence and excessive self-confidence in the user’s skills are associated with a less general motivation. A higher level of general and specific motivation is related to the participation of teachers and parents in the development of adolescent skills in the Internet. This extremely low self-confidence and the solution of any online problems by parents are associated with passive motivation, e.g. the desire to explore the Internet spontaneously through other people. Possible methods of developing active motivation to improve digital competence and the prevention of excessive confidence in adolescents are discussed
Having established the conception of digital competence consisting of four components (knowledge, skills, motivation and responsibility) implemented in four areas (content, communication, consumption, and the techno-sphere), we propose the idea of models of digital competence as a specific systems of adolescents’ beliefs about their abilities and desires in the online world. These models (1) may be realistic or illusory, (2) their development is mediated by the motivation and online activity and (3) they regulate further online activities as well as the further development of digital competence. On the basis of nationwide study of digital competence (N=1203 Russian adolescents of 12-17 years) using latent class method we revealed 5 models of digital competence corresponding to its lowest level, the average level at high and low motivation, high specific (in the components of skill and safety) and high general level. It has been shown that higher appraisal of their digital competence is related to the opportunity of a more prolonged and self-service access to the Internet as well as the history of independent development of skills online. The illusion of digital competence is associated with a wide but shallow exploration activities online. Motivational component is related to the participation and recognition of the role of others in the development of digital competence, in comparison with others’ online skills and knowledge, as well as subjectively lower «digital divide» with parents. We suggest that the motivational component of the digital competence is developed if adolescent has a successful interaction via Internet, learn from other people and also if the range of her activities and interests online activity involves and requires the development of new skills.
Based on digital competence model’s analysis, we have figured out 3 main types of Internet-users: (1) beginners, (2) experienced users, (3) advanced users. All these types fall into different risk groups, determined by variable possibilities of facing content-, communication-, technical- and customers- online-threats.
Conducted in recent years Russian population studies of the Internet use by children show that the rapid skills development in children and adolescents is associated with a lack of awareness of the risks and dangers of the digital world, and also the possibilities of coping with them. The paper offers psychological models of digital competence in children and adults including four components: knowledge, skills, motivation, responsibility, as well as types of digital competence, i.e. media competence, communicative competence, technical competence, and consumer competence.
The paper performs the results of the development and methods validation of screening diagnosis index of digital competence according to population-based study on a representative sample of Russian 12-17 year-olders (N = 1203) and parents of adolescents in this age group (N = 1209) conducted by the Foundation for Internet Development and the Department of Psychology, Moscow Lomonosov State University, Moscow, Russia with Google support. Reliability-consistency scales of the knowledge skills and responsibility was sufficient (0.72-0.90) with inhomogeneity of motivation scale. The confirmatory factor analysis proved the compliance of the 4-component index model to the empirical data.
To verify the validity of the criteria we used the four tests assessing the respondents’ knowledge and skills in the areas of content, communication, technosphere and consumption sphere. The overall level of digital competence was for parents, 31 per cent from of the highest possible level, and for adolescents, the level was 34 per cent, with particular decline in motivation (20 per cent and 20 per cent respectively), which indicates the necessaity for motivating and informing educational programs in this area.