Media in the Online Age
New BBC Radio 4 programme called Glass Half Full. In this episode they ask the question of whether or not digital technology is enriching children’s lives. This is a cracking piece of revision for the exam Section B.
In a debate recorded in front of an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Fi Glover examines the thoughts of pessimists and optimists. She asks not only what they think about the effect digital technology has on children, but also how their views are informed by their contrasting mindsets. Where does their optimism or pessimism come from?
Baroness Martha Lane Fox, an invincible optimist and tech entrepreneur, says children are naturally predisposed to learn, and digital technology provides endless opportunities for development. She considers that we romanticise traditional childhoods spent outside in the fresh air but, in reality, children must tap the social and educational potential of tablets and smart phones if they are to be prepared for life in our digital world.
Andrew Keen, an entrepreneur himself as well as being one of the most influential pessimistic commentators on the digital age, takes the opposite view. He believes our children are immersed in digital media before they can walk, stunting their development, damaging their health, and making them less able to interact with real-life people. He says the internet monetises every aspect of our children’s lives, their personal data harvested for the use of governments and corporations.
Three expert witnesses are called to give evidence – Professor Sugata Mitra, educationalist Sue Palmer, and technology expert and presenter Julia Hardy.
The pessimist and the optimist cross-examine the witnesses and, to conclude, the audience votes. Is the glass half empty or half full?