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Name of the Journal or Publication which it appeared: The University of Georgia
Date of Publication: May 2003
A good research paper reflects the researcher’s exemplar or worldviews. The
context of the research focuses on how the internet affects the children’s daily living
on any aspect. This research starts with the premise that most children already have
access to the Internet either in school, library or at home. Thus, it examines the
actual use of the Internet for children and how the use of the Internet changes the
daily lives of children in terms of physical, social and psychological health by
investigating the level of physical activity, social interaction and relationship and
solitude. The research also looks at how children assign their attention to different
media and everyday activities. The researcher believes that there has been a variety
of arguments made regarding the potential negative effects of the Internet on the
everyday lives of children. There have been some questions about the Internet's
negative effects on children with regard to violent and sexual content and a
displacement effect in areas such as social relationships, including contact with
family and friends, physical activity and other leisure-time activities, such as reading
and playing, and a negative influence on psychological well-being, such as isolation.
There weren't many studies on this subject, however. Also, previous work has
conflicting results.
In particular, this research explored how children allocated their time to
various media and everyday activities, as well as the relationship between the use of
the Internet for children and the degree of physical activity, social participation and
relationship and solitude. This research aimed to establish if there was a possible
displacement effect for daily activities and an influence on the physical, social, and
psychological well-being of children. No work has been conducted on the
displacement effect of the Internet for children and conflicting results have been seen
from the study that does exist. This research primarily explored the usage of the
Internet for children and its effect on their current use of the media, non-media
activities, physical activity, social participation and relationships, and loneliness.
The literature review focuses not only to internet and the ways the children
uses them but also how often the children uses them. Different types of internet or
medias were offer in the literature review and did not focus on one scope only which
was best. In the study’s theoretical background, it uses time as a variable to
measure how much impact the media has given the respondents or the children. In
particular, the researchers use the time displacement effect in order to explain
thoroughly the impact of media. Additionally, the research discussed in their
theoretical background the displacement of existing media which are the television
and are replaced by social media or internet itself.
In a research study which caters respondents who are minor, ethical
considerations were not mentioned in the study. These ethical standards include
issues such as honesty requirements, requirements for informed consent,
anonymisation and data storage, the right of participants to access data, and the
duty of confidentiality for all those conducting research. Although it was not
mentioned in the study, the names of the participants were not stated and there were
consents provided for both the child and the parents.
In the study, the research design was not specifically stated. The researchers
conducted a pilot study with a less number of respondents in order to improve the
questions for the better understanding of the participants. The final data collection
did happen using the self-reported survey from children 4th through 9th grades during
February 2003. Five schools in Clarke County, Barrow County, and Jackson County
in Georgia were included. This study comprised in detail of two private schools and
three public schools, including one elementary, one middle, and one high school.
The step by step distribution of the questionnaire which consists of one cover letter,
two parental consent forms, two child assent forms, and the questionnaire. A total of
1,600 questionnaires were distributed to children and the sample returned to 297
students. The response rate was 19%. Since children were expected to take the
questionnaire home for parental permission and returned the filled out questionnaire
to school, more effort was needed for children than other surveys and therefore
could result in a slightly lower response rate. The sample size acquired was far from
the expected number of respondents. The questionnaire consists of questions
regarding the demographic variables of the respondents, perception about the
influence of the Internet and about the Internet credibility. In addition, the
questionnaire also focuses on the independent variables which are the internet. It
consists questions about how often the respondents’ uses internet and what type of
internet they use. Lastly, the third part of the questionnaire is about the dependent
variable which is the social and physical activities performed by the respondents.
The results of the study were thoroughly discussed. It offers various tables
and discusses the findings thru variables. First, it tackles about the sample which
consists of 105 boys (35.4%) and 184 girls (62%). 8 respondents did not specify and
give their gender. Some 80 % of respondents attend public school. The interviewee’s
age range was 8 to 16 years. The majority of respondents were aged between 9 and
14. Approximately 70 % of children reported living with both parents while 4 % said
they lived with others (e.g., grandparents). 19.5 % of children lived with their mothers
and 4.7 % lived with their fathers. Also, the study shows the results on the
respondent’s media activity, physical activity, and social activity. Furthermore, it also
discusses the displacement of the new media and the non-media. The result shows
that the usage of internet has no impact on the children’s daily living. This study
found no displacement impact of the Internet on day-to-day activities of children.
Instead, it was found that children who spent more time on the Internet were more
likely to spend more time with other media, more time on some form of physical
activity, and more social participation. The Internet has provided the children with a
forum for contact and social relationships. Children of the net generation surrounded
by media did not automatically give up other activities that were also important for
their mental, physical, social and psychological growth.
The discussion of the results was presented in by presenting the objective of
the study which is to determine the impact of internet on the daily lives of the
children. Kids who spent more time on the Internet often spent more time with other
traditional outlets such as television, radio, video games, and books. Children who
engaged consistently in one activity were more likely to engage even in other
activities. There are some repercussions to this research. Firstly, it accepted the
"more, the more" theory of displacement for current media. Children who use one
medium a lot spent more time with other media. The time spent on a new medium, in
other words, did not come from the time spent on current media. This did not come
from the time spent in non-media practices, either. In addition, children who use high
internet spent more time on their own physical activities and attending social events
than children with low internet usage did. Since this study did not include all sorts of
activities in detail, it is possible that time spent on the Internet might be from
activities that were not measured in this study.
The discourse in this research on the displacement effect indicates that an
alternative hypothesis should be established for the displacement effect. For
example, while there was no time displacement of children's activities over the
Internet, a psychological or attitudinal displacement may occur. Throughout this
research, children who spent more time on the Internet appeared to have negative
attitudes towards physical activity (throughout social development, social continuity,
and dimensions of health & fitness), whereas children who were moderate Internet
users were more likely to spend more time on personal physical activity. This
demonstrated the displacement effect of Internet-based attitudes of children towards
physical activity. Therefore the impact of displacement should be studied on a multidimensional basis. This study is similar to other survey research and does not
provide evidence of cause and effect.
Luckily, the study, not expecting the desired results, provided ways for the
future studies to further improve their work. In the discussion, they presented ways to
improve their study. First, it strongly suggests that Internet use forms should be
investigated for evaluating the displacement impact of digital media. Second, it
advises that further research on isolation and the use of the Internet should look at
social and emotional isolation. Thirdly, it would also be possible to compare the
findings by gathering data not only from children but also from parents. It is also
proposed that a longitudinal study investigate the longitudinal impact of the Internet
on significant stages of growth from the younger children to teenagers and adults.
One idea would be to look in school time at the displacement effect. Since school
time is fixed for most kids and it takes nearly half of the day, the displacement effect
would be interesting to see. It will be fascinating to explore how the Internet
displaces class tasks, such as maths or time spent on library studies for school work.
The researcher presented all the references it uses in its study accurately and
precisely. It was presented in an APA (American Psychological Association) format.