Digitalisation has found its way into our everyday lives and does not stop at children's rooms and classrooms. It offers great opportunities but also carries some risks. Therefore, it is crucial to teach children responsible use of digital devices and platforms. This requires a strong collaboration between parents and schools to provide children with a solid guideline to navigate and learn to use digital devices and software safely and effectively. At the same time, it is about teaching children media skills so that in the future they can filter out relevant information from the vast array of media offerings that align with their interests instead of just consuming it indiscriminately. This goes hand in hand with evaluating the information available with a critical eye.
In 2008, the renowned French psychoanalyst Serge Tisseron developed the well-known 3-6-9-12 rule to limit screen media usage for different age groups. The recommendations at that time were as follows:
In late 2019, Tisseron revised these recommendations and shifted the focus from simply limiting screen time to the educational process in using digital media. With his revised 3-6-9-12 rule, he now encourages parents to support their children in using digital media, to gradually introduce them to the digital world and to foster their learning processes within age-appropriate boundaries. The following recommendations are part of his updated 3-6-9-12 rule:
These guidelines are, of course, only a reference and may vary based on the cognitive maturity of the child. It is important to select age-appropriate media, devices, and offerings to avoid over- or underwhelming the child cognitively. It is advisable to initially explore media together with the child and to accompany the child's initial learning progress - be it playfully or in a targeted manner at school. Research suitable websites, apps, or games in advance that are suitable for your child's age.
The credo here is to discover and learn together. You should always accompany your child and provide assistance when they first come into contact with digital media. This support can be gradually reduced depending on the child's behavior and learning ability. Parents' intuition is often a good indicator - they can tell when their child has a good, safe use of media that sometimes works well without supervision.
As with many things, moderation is key. Media consumption or use is always accompanied by a lot of sensory stimuli. Therefore, limit your child's media use and determine the right amount. Breaks can be very helpful. The ZHAW media literacy guide (2019) recommends the following screen time guidelines for home:
Safety first! You can set security settings and manage permissions for many apps, accounts, or devices. For example, certain topics/content can be blocked, or the content can be filtered by age rating. However, it should be noted that a filter does not replace the need for supervision and guidance.
Modern software even allows you to limit your child's screen time, block downloading or installing critical applications on your child's device, and set «bedtimes».
Always keep in mind that your child learns a lot from you - including media consumption. Your attitude and user behaviour often have more influence on your child than you might think. If you notice that your child plays with digital media very often (or too often), do not hesitate to set limits. Excessive and prolonged media consumption can have negative effects on your child, such as poor concentration, posture problems or social disorder patterns.
Clear, child-friendly communication is a crucial factor here. Explain to your child (appropriate to their maturity level, of course) why you are limiting consumption and what dangers digital media can bring.
It is essential that parents and teachers convey the diversity of using digital media from the beginning and actively support it — of course, within appropriate and age-appropriate boundaries.
In addition to school experiences and learning programs, parents have the opportunity to allow their children to explore creative projects at home, such as creating greeting cards using digital media. These experiences are not only exciting for the children but also teach them that digital media can be used for different purposes. The goal is not only to promote the actual activity but also to convey the diverse possibilities that digital media offer.
In principle, however, it still applies the younger the children, the more comprehensive the supervision and regulation must be from parents and teaching staff.
Studies have shown that integrating computers into the classroom can improve the quality of instruction and enhance learning outcomes. Students show a keen interest in using computers and the internet. By using new media in open lessons, students have the opportunity to independently research and learn the subject matter. This not only develops their computer skills but also imparts media literacy.
We believe that in our increasingly digital world, information technology is an essential part of a modern, future-oriented curriculum in all subjects in order to best prepare children for future challenges.
Do you have questions about our curriculum and the role we give to digital media? Then please contact us!