4-1 | Influences of Technology-Related Playful Activity and Thought on Moral Development

Article

Influences of Technology-Related Playful Activity and Thought on Moral Development

Doris Bergen and Darrel Davis

Abstract:

Many early developmental theorists such as Freud, Erikson, Piaget, and Vygotsky suggested that play—which the authors of this article define as both playful activity and playful thought—had the power to influence the moral emotions, behaviors, and reasoning of children. More recent researchers have also found evidence of moral development in their observations of children’s play. But, the authors claim, there have been many changes in the culture of childhood and adolescence in the past twenty years, and these have affected both the amount of time spent in play and the types of play that prevail. This article describes potential changes in the nature of play related to three new technologies—technology-augmented toys, video games, and virtual communities—and reviews the research and theory about their impact on play and on moral development. The authors look at research (including their own), discuss the positive and negative influences of these new technologies, and describe the need for further investigation. Key words: cheating; play and moral development; technology-augmented toys; video games; violence in video games; virtual communities