Effects of Interactive Media on Children

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Effects of Interactive Media on Children]

    • 00:24

      SPEAKER 1: I'm Dr. Kaveri Subrahmanyam,Associate Director of the Children's Digital Media Centerat California State University, Los Angeles.My own research at the center has reallybeen driven by the idea that technology is here to stay.And there's so much negative emotion about technology.And this is not new.

    • 00:45

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: We hadn't thought of negative concerns about films,about television, about radio.It's a part of our children's lives.So rather than being fearful about itif we can be objective in how we study its potential effects,both positive and negative, then I think we are in better shapeto empower our children and really

    • 01:06

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: prepare them to be successful in today's digital world.

    • 01:15

      SPEAKER 2: OK.So thank you for agreeing to participate.So now I'm just going to explain the tasksand exactly what you will be doing.OK.So you're going to be reading a passage.You have the choice to read between two passages,so you can either choose this passageor you can choose to read this one.

    • 01:31

      SPEAKER 3: OK.

    • 01:31

      SPEAKER 2: So which one did you want to read?

    • 01:33

      SPEAKER 3: The first one.

    • 01:34

      SPEAKER 2: OK.So I'm just going to put this here.The next thing that we're going to be doingis you're going to be responding to messages on the iPad.So if we could just hold on to that.So you know how to use an iPad?

    • 01:46

      SPEAKER 3: Yes.

    • 01:46

      SPEAKER 2: And Message?OK.So, for instance, you would be readingand you would get a message.All I need you to do is switch your attentionfrom the passage to the message

    • 01:57

      SPEAKER 3: OK.

    • 01:57

      SPEAKER 2: And just respond to it.And then as soon as you're done responding youwould go back to reading.

    • 02:03

      SPEAKER 3: OK.

    • 02:04

      SPEAKER 2: Then you're going to get another message,respond to it, and then go back to reading, so on and so forth.

    • 02:07

      SPEAKER 3: OK.

    • 02:08

      SPEAKER 2: Does that make sense?

    • 02:09

      SPEAKER 3: Yes.

    • 02:10

      SPEAKER 2: OK.And then, OK, and here you go.And then just let me know when you're done.

    • 02:15

      SPEAKER 3: OK.

    • 02:15

      SPEAKER 2: When you're done reading.

    • 02:20

      SPEAKER 1: We did this series of studies lookingat the impact of multitasking on reading.And as someone who's what you would call a digital immigrant,I'm convinced that multitasking has negativelyimpacted my own ability to focus and concentrate.So I went into this line of work expectingto be able to find disruptions in performance.

    • 02:43

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: But what I have found over several series of studiesis that when you ask college students to readshort text in the laboratory and alsoengage in multitasking, typicallyby communicating with somebody else would typicallya researcher, we consistently havefound no disruptions in performance.

    • 03:04

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: We also have participants do whatwe call the Mod arithmetic.These are really novel problems involving very basic arithmeticskills that everybody should know,addition, multiplication, subtraction.And have them learn to solve these problemswhile also communicating with a researcher.And what we are now she's seeing consistently

    • 03:25

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: is decrements in performance.We are seeing that all of this communication,this multitasking when you are learning something thatis somewhat difficult is having an impact on performance.On the other hand, if you are doing somethingthat you are familiar with, such as reading text, whichfor students is a very common and familiar activity,

    • 03:45

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: we are really not seeing any negative effectsof multitasking.I think what my research has shownis that adolescents use these media for things that theywould otherwise be doing.So I think my research will reallyhave implication for digital literacybecause it also shows some of the waysthat children and adolescents are not using technology

    • 04:08

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: wisely.Youth who are having trouble in their offline livesare also getting into trouble online.So I think my work will really have implicationsin terms of designing better programs to empower youth, aswell as protect them, and ensuring that they usethese technologies safely and wisely.[Conducting research]

    • 04:29

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: One of the challenges we have especiallyin the last couple years is that as devices have become smaller,more portable and as the communication has becomenonstop, 24/7, getting accurate measures of time usehas become very difficult.An alternative nowadays with the technologyis to go in and record everything

    • 04:50

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: that they're saying and doing.You are still faced with mountains of data.And really the question is how do youas a researcher go in and make sense of all of that data,because you have no idea what the participant is saying.You can't presume to think that you are interpretingthose digital communications, those photographs on Instagram,

    • 05:13

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: or that comment on social media such as Facebookto mean what you think it's meaning.Now because people have a lot of cellphone messages.Some of participants tell us theyhave sent 300 messages a day.It's really impossible to get themto talk about every interaction.We ask them to select the three most significant interactionsthat day and tell us who they interacted with,

    • 05:36

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: whether this person was a friend, an acquaintance, whatthey talked about, the level of supportthey received from that interaction,whether they had any conflict, and variety of other detailsabout their online interactions that day.It has been a little difficult accessingthe more private profiles, and which

    • 05:57

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: is why my own research I've moved away from doing researchon online data, and even doing massively coded data because Ithink that has some ethical issues to bringing subjectsto the lab, getting their consent,and then having them go online.And either give me access to their online profiles,or having them fill out my surveys.

    • 06:19

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: A lot of research using online surveys is done onlineand anybody can fill it out.And you really have no idea who this person is.And so it's important for us as developmental psychologiststo bring them to the lab and conform important information,such as their age, their gender, and other aspects.

    • 06:40

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: And then so that we get that information.So in that one time survey when they come to the labwe have a whole load of questions about their mediause.We have questions about who they talk, in different modes.We ask them who they interacted with on social media, who theyinteracted with on text messaging, a variety

    • 07:01

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: of other questions as well.What kind of online self presentation they did that day.So what are finding is that face to facecommunication, both positive and negative interactions,have seemed to relate or predict well-being that day.But with digital communication, it'sprimarily conflict via social media or cellphones

    • 07:22

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: that seems to predict well-being that day.There's a lot of data that I have and it's quite timeconsuming, but I think it has the potentialto really yield promising and interesting results.All of this research is really conducted as a teambecause I do not go test each and every subject individually.

    • 07:43

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: So the graduate researchers and myself typicallydesign the studies, review the literature.We come up with the design.We get human subjects' approval.And we prepare the software and all of the programsto actually going to test the subjects.And I work closely with them to make surethat everything is done correctly.

    • 08:03

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: [Overcoming challenges]What do you suggest to making them actuallymultitask in the experiment?What kind of a task do you think would work?

    • 08:12

      SPEAKER 2: I think we can have a confederate send them messages.I was looking over some studies and there'sa study where they make the participants plan a party.

    • 08:19

      SPEAKER 1: OK

    • 08:20

      SPEAKER 2: And so the confederatewould just be going back and forthwith the participant talking about different aspectsof the party.

    • 08:25

      SPEAKER 1: OK.

    • 08:26

      SPEAKER 2: For instance, what kindof music, what kind of food would they want,

    • 08:29

      SPEAKER 1: OK.

    • 08:29

      SPEAKER 2: What kind of atmosphere they would like.

    • 08:31

      SPEAKER 1: So the primary task wouldbe either reading or the modular arithmeticand the secondary task would be the confederate.

    • 08:38

      SPEAKER 2: Would be the confederatesending the messages.

    • 08:39

      SPEAKER 1: OK.Now one thing that we have noticed in the prior workis that they seem kind of bored, right?We're worried about the motivation,how motivated are these subjects?Are they just doing it for course credit?Can you think of anything we could do to sort increasetheir motivation to really be on task and do well?The graduate researchers and the undergraduate students

    • 09:01

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: actually go ahead and collect the data,clean up the data files, and then we, again, come backand we analyze the data together.And then we work on the presentations,the oral presentation.And then of course the writing of the researchwhere I then take a much bigger role in writing and gettingthe papers ready for publication.Did you by any chance code which problems

    • 09:23

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: were making more demands on working memory?

    • 09:27

      SPEAKER 2: I didn't code.

    • 09:29

      SPEAKER 1: OK.

    • 09:30

      SPEAKER 2: I know when she gave me the paper, Dr. Sun,it had the difference of high versus low.

    • 09:35

      SPEAKER 1: OK

    • 09:36

      SPEAKER 2: But I didn't exactly know what that meant.

    • 09:38

      SPEAKER 1: What it meant.The results seem to be fairly similar across different agegroups.Early work that I did where we triedto connect developmental needs to social mediause to digital communication use,we did find, for instance, that among adolescents sexualityand identity are two pressing developmental tasks.There we did find greater sexual explorations as well as

    • 10:01

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: identity explorations among adolescents,but when you came to emerging adultssexuality is not that important.But what's more important is identity.Older adolescents seem to use these new media morefor identity and self presentation.So to the extent that individuals are differentage points might be grappling withdifferent developmental needs.

    • 10:23

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: So you do find different kinds of uses.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Effects of Interactive Media on Children

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Kaveri Subrahmanyam describes her work researching the effects of media use and multitasking on performance.

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Effects of Interactive Media on Children

Kaveri Subrahmanyam describes her work researching the effects of media use and multitasking on performance.

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