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ESTABLISHING A COMPREHENSIVE UNDERSTANDING AND TAXONOMY OF CHILDREN'S DIGITAL MATURITY

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIGYMATEX (ESTABLISHING A COMPREHENSIVE UNDERSTANDING AND TAXONOMY OF CHILDREN'S DIGITAL MATURITY)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-01-31

Understanding ICT effects on children

Children are attracted to digital technology, but it is not yet clear how digitally mature they are. How is children's behaviour affected by ICT and to what extent? The EU-funded DIGYMATEX project intends to offer evidence-based instruments that can support understanding and estimating ICT effects on children's conduct. The first instrument consists of an advanced and ready for the market Digital Youth Maturity Index (DYMI), a cloud-based open-access instrument. DYMI will contribute in the development of an inclusive taxonomy that will inform stakeholders on the long-term impact of ICT on children and young people's behaviour. The second tool consists of a solution based on the development of the DiGYou programme. Both tools will contribute to a safer and profitable use of ICT.
In period No: 1, DIGYMATEX has extensively invested in laying the ground for (1) one of the main objective - the development of a digital youth maturity index (DYMI) and (2) a successful dissemination and exploitation strategy of project outcomes. The majority of work in RP1 covered a consistent and systematic literature review of more than 350 articles and research notes, focus groups with children, which led to a first template of the DYMI and its preliminary dimensions (WP1). This successful work will be the baseline for further iterations of the DYMI (WP2) and the development of concrete measurement items (WP1) and tools (WP3/WP4) to deepen and broaden the insight about DYMI dimensions and their impact on an understanding of children's beneficial and/or maladaptive ICT use. Furthermore, DIGYMATEX disseminates research insights and knowledge to a scientific and public audience already from the beginning and could create interdependencies with other European researchers and their projects (i.e. YSkills, DigiGen and CORE).
Progress beyond the state of the art is, that the shared understanding of the core concept of digital (youth) maturity was derived from the related concept of psycho-social maturity, which integrates a person’s socialization goals and goals of individual development. It can be described as the ability to take on obligations and make responsible decisions by considering one’s own needs and the consequences of one’s own actions. The concept of psycho-social maturity goes beyond intelligence and takes into account that an individual is able to develop a positive attitude towards his own life-goals and towards the environment. Similarly, the shared understanding of digital maturity by DIGYMATEX is not limited to digital literacy, but includes the accomplishment of long-term life goals and needs with ICTs as well as engagement for others and the society in digital environments. Importantly, digital maturity is based on ideas from the literature on psycho-social maturity and positive psychological development, but it also extends these concepts. While ICTs provide tools to pursue individual goals, they also impede long-term goal pursuit with all the temptations that are used by technology to intentionally grab the attention of the users, as well as by the overwhelming information density provided by ICTs. Hence, DIGYMATEX assume that digital maturity needs technology specific psychological competences to finally render an individual a respected member of the (digital) society with a high well-being. This conceptualization is theoretically grounded and support the work of creating an index - DYMI - corresponding support tools - DigYou3 - to address the expected project impacts of (1) the provision of continuously updated knowledge about children’s digital maturity and market-ready insights and recommendations with the help of the Digital Youth Maturity Index (DMYI), (2) the contribution of DigYou to a safer and more beneficial use of mobile ICTs by children, to educational stakeholder and to EU policy and (3) ambitions to secure long-term impact and application of the DYMI and DigYou-program.
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