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The Effects of Computers on Children's Social Development and School Participation: Evidence from a Randomized Control Experiment

Author

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  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Kalil, Ariel

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

Concerns over the perceived negative impacts of computers on social development among children are prevalent but largely uninformed by plausibly causal evidence. We provide the first test of this hypothesis using a large-scale randomized control experiment in which more than one thousand children attending grades 6-10 across 15 different schools and 5 school districts in California were randomly given computers to use at home. Children in the treatment group are more likely to report having a social networking site, but also report spending more time communicating with their friends and interacting with their friends in person. There is no evidence that computer ownership displaces participation in after-school activities such as sports teams or clubs or reduces school participation and engagement.

Suggested Citation

  • Fairlie, Robert W. & Kalil, Ariel, 2016. "The Effects of Computers on Children's Social Development and School Participation: Evidence from a Randomized Control Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 10398, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10398
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Elena Claudia Meroni & Daniela Piazzalunga & Chiara Pronzato, 2022. "Allocation of time and child socio-emotional skills," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 1155-1192, December.
    2. Ofer Malamud, 2019. "The Effect of Home Computers and the Internet on Children’s Human Capital Development," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 17(02), pages 34-40, August.
    3. Kessel, Dany & Hardardottir, Hulda Lif & Tyrefors, Björn, 2020. "The impact of banning mobile phones in Swedish secondary schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    4. Malamud, Ofer & Cueto, Santiago & Cristia, Julian & Beuermann, Diether W., 2019. "Do children benefit from internet access? Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 41-56.
    5. Cyprien Sikubwabo1 & Pascal Habihirwe, 2022. "Effects Of Information And Communication Technology On Students’ Learning Behaviour In Rwandan Secondary Schools In Musanze District," Working papers 2022-42-02, Voice of Research.
    6. Elena Claudia Meroni & Daniela Piazzalunga & Chiara Pronzato, 2019. "Use of extra-school time and child behaviour," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2019-02, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    7. Li, Yunrong & Mora, Ricardo, 2018. "On the use of social networking services and the ability to socialize: evidence from Chinese children aged 10 to 15," UC3M Working papers. Economics 27163, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    computers; ICT; education; social development; school participation; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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