Smart Devices May Actually Be Smart Company

[FRI MAR 31; B2-B3; ’Älylaite voi olla älykästäkin seuraa’, Sari Oksala]


Photo: Nina Keski-Korpela


* Viljami Tabell says digital native children and adolescents also need their parents’ guidance and tips for using smart devices and social media.


Viljami Tabell admits he’s a little embittered. Currently working as a media educator at the Arx cultural center for children and adolescents, Tabell has been making animation films since he was seven years old.

– Back then every individual frame was shot on film, and the film was sent to Sweden for development. When it finally came back after two or three months, one would have to rent a projector to see the finished film, Tabell reminisces.

Now every child and adolescent has in their pocket a smart phone with a high definition camera, free animation and editing applications, and personal YouTube channels. Finished videos can be viewed on almost any device.

– And instead of utilizing these tools, phones are used for bullying friends, playing Candy Crush Saga, and watching cat videos, Tabell sighs.


His job is to visit parents’ evenings in schools talking to teachers and other educators, and meeting children and adolescents.

He also arranges a media education workshop for all fourth graders, i.e. 10-year-olds.

The guideline for media educators is simple: children and adolescents need to be taught how to properly use phones, tablets and social media, along with everything else. Digital dummy parents need not be disheartened by this.

– Adults don’t need to know everything themselves, the most important thing is to guide children into proper usage of media and to encourage their individual strengths. For example, an adult can instruct a child to animate objects in stop-motion without knowing how to use the software.

Tabell notes that it’s a misconception that digital native children and adolescents automatically know all the possibilities provided by smart devices.

– Many of them can’t use email or don’t get technical terms mixed up. I’ve heard an adolescent say they can upload a video to YouTube but can’t get it to the Internet, professes Tabell.


Tabell suggests parents should challenge their children and adolescents to make their own music, animations or videos.

– And then it’s not just about time spent looking at a screen. If a phone is only used to play games, the time spent with it can be supervised more heavily than when the child or adolescent is creating something of their own, he says.

It’s advisable for parents to build a functioning conversational connection with their children about the use of media. According to Tabell, gaming is a great way to achieve that, so parents should really play video games with their children.

Children would like that too, and after that it would be easier to bring up media use and rules that apply to it. Children are happy to discuss their use of media, and parents should listen.

– If parents aren’t the least bit interested in what their children actually do on their phones, but still want to limit their use, it may not be well received.


In parents’ evenings Tabell hands out media use agreements which parents and their children can fill in together.

It includes what to when a child encounters adult content, bullying, or otherwise frightening or distressing material.

– It’s important that the child isn’t afraid to show the material to adults and that the parents won’t get angry. Often the child is very confused and needs an adult to help them process what they’ve seen. The adult getting angry would only make things worse. The child would be left alone with their fear, and next time around would definitely not tell their parents.

In the classes he arranges for 10-year-olds, Tabell has noticed that children have trouble drawing a line between private and public information. A child may impart on their YouTube channel their home address, the names of their parents, and when the family will go on vacation and the house will be empty.

– It’s good to make an agreement with the child about what to tell and what not to. Information is impossible to get rid of on the Internet, no matter how much one regrets putting it out there.

Also worth discussing with children, according to Tabell, is that the amount of likes one gets on their posts is not a measure of value as a person.

– Many children and adolescents may think that way when following posts of fame-seekers and draw inspiration from them.



Viljami Tabell

* Media educator at the Arx cultural center for children and adolescents.

* Born in Kinnula, moved with his family to Hämeenlinna in 1989.

* Graduated from the Gymnasium (lukio) of Kauriala in 1997.

* Studied in the Voionmaa Institute, in the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (former TTVK) in Media and Arts and Visual Arts. Achieved Master’s Degree in Visual Arts in 2008.

* Trained in free- and scuba diving instructing and media services.

* Has worked as a diving instructor in Micronesia. Hobbies include building FPV drones and filming with them. He can be foud on YouTube as Spiralz FPV.



Instructive and creative applications

* Stop Motion Studio app for animating in stop motion

* iMovie video editing app, similar to Power Director and Kine Master Pro for Android

* Green Screen Studio app for replacing a background color with another picture or video

* Tellagami app for creating animated avatars

* Morfo Booth app for fun

* Sky View augmented reality app for stargazing

* SloPro slow motion camera app that simulates up to 1000 frames per second

* Dragon Box app for learning mathematics

* Garage Band music studio app

* Jungle Race collecting virtual fruit while running, precursor to Pokémon GO

* Musiclock a brillian way to learn musical scales


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