99 ERC SES 03 F, Philosophy of Education
Among the discourses on play activity, there is a certain romanticisation of outdoor play, its positive qualities and its benefits for children's well-being. However, a more up-to-date perspective on a child's play life in the 21st century seems to point to a pronounced habit of playful enjoyment in indoor spaces such as a home. This was not new; many researchers warned of the increasing tendency of children to play indoors some years ago. The pandemic caused by covid-19 has further accentuated children's indoor play and given an even greater shift to virtual leisure.
Because play transcends any spatial and temporal barriers, any space can be suitable for the enjoyment and pleasure of play. Digital space seems to be one of the scenarios that many children are choosing for their play activity. These spaces such as Twitch, Youtube, Video games, Social Networks, and Apps have become their meeting place where they cultivate their relationships among their peers. However, under what conditions are children playing in digital spaces?
The discussion about the conditions of play in digital space leads me to delve into the history of playgrounds. The public playgrounds that can be found today in most urban cities have their origins in the industrial cities of the late 19th century. Their history can be traced back to the public philosopher Jane Addams and her settlement Hull-House. In 1893, her institution offered what was the first public playground in the city of Chicago. The need for safe public playgrounds was Addams' thesis in the face of the dangers and risks of the industrial city.
According to the author, children and adolescents met their play needs through the commercial leisure that prevailed in the streets of the city. A type of leisure that was closer to the economic interests of businessmen and its consumption was marked by strong hedonistic child behaviour. Children and adolescents were grouped into gangs controlled by a leader with adult protection. Leaders exchanged protection in exchange for favours. Drug use, crime, theft and commercial leisure were among the most frequent activities in the gangs' organisation. The combination of these factors led them into a state of "aesthetic insensitivity" (Addams, 1909, pp.154-155). Organized and supervised playgrounds were a healthy and virtuous response to commercial leisure. Play in the playground enabled participation in play activities on equal terms and the cultivation and practice of citizenship.
Whereas the context of the industrial and the digital city may be very different, we still find some similarities at the present. Children still find it difficult to form healthy relationships in the digital city. Issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, violation of their privacy and theft of personal data demand new educational responses. The new play scenario seems to suggest the need to create not only safe content but also a protected space. In an attempt to provide an answer to many families' concerns about internet safety, companies such as Google are committed to creating safe digital content and space (see Play Store Kids, Interland, or the Teacher Approved Apps program of Google). However, there seem to be not enough government or non-governmental organization's efforts to provide a safe digital space. Does it make sense to think about public digital playgrounds? Do children need digital playgrounds? The aim of this work is to reflect on the possibility of creating digital playgrounds for children in the "new cities of the 21st century". The reflection that arises revolves around the possibility of creating digital spaces for children where the practice and cultivation of citizenship can take place.
The methodology of this work follows an essayistic approach and is framed within the theoretical studies carried out in educational research. The current reflection is proposed in dialogue with some of the key concepts of the philosophy of education of the pragmatist Jane Addams. The essay is supported by the consultation of primary and secondary sources.
Whereas the work is still in development, some ideas related to the need to provide protected children's digital spaces emerge in the essay. In line with Addams' thinking, the new digital city is full of dangers for children, especially those under the age of 12. Public policy should focus on creating or arbitrating digital spaces in which children could interact safely. The need to create a safe space where children could exercise their citizenship on equal terms was one of Jane Addams' demands. This need for protection was to be provided by the public power of the city. In her book, The spirit of the Young and the city streets, Addams early warned about the risk of the declination of the playful activity in the industrial modern society: “Only the modern society have men concluded that it is no longer necessary for the municipality to provide for the insatiable desire for play…a difficult and dangerous experiment; and this at the very moment when the city has become distinctly industrial, and daily labor is continually more monotonous and subdivided”(Addams, 1909,p.4). The creation of safe play spaces is not a new issue, however, the literature has begun to use the term "digital playground" within different meanings (see Burroughs & Feller, 2020; Smith & Shades, 2018; Taylor & Rooney, 2017) What does the term digital playground encompass? Are digital playgrounds protected spaces for children's socialization? what are the conditions of these spaces? This essay presents some of the conceptions that have been assigned to these new spaces. It also discusses the educational implications of the different conceptions.
Addams, J. (1914). A Plea for More Play, More Pay and More Education for our Factory Boys and Girls, From the Writings of Jane Addams, pp. 14. Retrieved from: https://digital.janeaddams.ramapo.edu/items/show/6613 Addams, J. (1909). The spirit of youth and the city streets. University of Illinois Press. Burroughs, B., & Feller, G. (2020). The Emergence And Ethics Of Child-Created Content As Media Industries. The Routledge Companion to Digital Media and Children. Smith, K. L., & Shade, L. R. (2018). Children’s digital playgrounds as data assemblages: Problematics of privacy, personalization, and promotional culture. Big Data & Society, 5(2), 2053951718805214. Taylor, E., & Rooney, T. (2017). Digital playgrounds: growing up in the surveillance age. Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.