5-7-aastaste laste vanemad laste meediakasutuse juhendajatena Rahamaa näitel
Parental mediation of 5 to 7 year old children’s media use: the Rahamaa (Moneyville) case Internet is spreading more and more and it is entering forcefully into ever younger children’s lives. Internet is unenforceable and includes different risks and opportunities. Pre-school aged children may have difficulties to implement safe and precautious behaviour in such a diverse and new environment. Therefore, experienced parents should come to help. They should introduce environment full on opportunities to children and guide them towards developmental and educational online-games. The main objective of this bachelor thesis was to examine Internet’s presumable positive effect on 5 to 7 year old children. In focus of the thesis was an educational online-game Rahamaa (Moneyville), which effect was examined through parents’ and children’s statements. In addition, the bachelor thesis examined to what extent and how parents mediate their children’s Internet use. The thesis explored also general computer usage of pre-schoolers and their development into a cognizant consumer. The theoretical part of this study gives an overview of children’s Internet use (risks and opportunities of Internet, positive media content), children’s development into cognizant consumers, parents’ role in mediating their children’s Internet use and developing them into a cognizant consumer, the theory and importance of game, computer- and online-games and Rahamaa game. Theoretical part gives the background to understand the empirical material. In order to gather empirical data on above mentioned matter I used qualitative research method and carried out focus group interviews with children and their parents. I conducted four interviews – two of them in a group of six with children and two in a group of six with parents. I analysed results using text examples. The analyses showed that children are spending more and more time on the Internet. It turned out that parents do not worry much about their children’s Internet use and they are frequently left alone in the new media. Parents utilize some restrictions but they do not consider it indispensable to invigilate children’s Internet use. However, all of the parents claim that they have discussed topics about Internet with their children. The bachelor thesis also showed that 54 older siblings often help and supervise pre-schoolers in matters of Internet. It also appeared that children enjoy playing Rahamaa online-game. All of the questioned children think that they have learned from this game but parents’ opinions are different. They presume that children cannot put learned skills into practice. There are not many studies in Estonia that concentrate on the positive aspects and opportunities of Internet and especially taking into account the statements of children and their parents. Present study is certainly a considerable groundwork for further investigation. The results of this bachelor thesis bestow consideration upon children’s Internet use and parental mediation. The results also help parents, kindergarten teachers and media to find effective strategies to make children’s Internet usage more developmental. This topic certainly needs further research. The focus should be on how children distinguish between online-world and real life. Following studies should be conducted with more representative sample. In addition to qualitative method it would be interesting to use quantitative research method as well.
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