The modern situation of child’s development represents the consecution of cycles characterized by a certain number of stages. The first stage is set by the process of the subject’s relationship with social reality, which is determined by an objective aspect - the demands of modern social reality on teenagers and by a subjective aspect – personal interior reflections of the demands. The second stage is characterized by the ideal image, possessing the conditions which differ from the actual one for the subject and the point of bifurcation characterizing the environment ability to develop. The third stage assumes the subject of actions of development, which lead to transformation of the subject himself and his social reality. The fourth stage presents the formation of a new social reality. Factors of development in condition of the modern situation of development are quick-moving social-economical conditions; digitalization of society, appearance of media culture as a new childhood and adolescent socialization institution; superfluous control of all childhood life’s aspects by adults; ascending role of material well-being and personal achievement, as well as pursuance of individuation.
Development of a man is the process of personality formation associated with some external and internal factors and conditions, in which the process takes place. Conditions are external, controlled part, changing which it becomes possible to change the direction of development. The natural (internal) part is an uncontrolled one of developmentprocess initially set with appearance of a new individual. Such areas of knowledge as Philosophy (Frankl, 1990; Kant, 1965; Platon, 1990), Sociology (Durkheim, 1995; Sanzharevski, 2010), Cultural Studies (Listvina, 2008; Mamedov, 2015), Psychology (Bozhovich, 1968; Vygotsky, 1983), Pedagogics (Manuilov, 2002; Savel'ev, 2005) are involved in research of how various external factors influence the developing personality. Scientists tend to find answers to the questions: which factors exert influence on a man and how they do that, what is modern reality and what changes does it make to the process of younger generation development, if it is possible to predict future taking into consideration all factors influencing personality formation.
The article is devoted to the problem assuming search for the answer to the question about what is the modern situation of child’s development, which demands the modern society makes on children and adolescents, which reactions they can arouse and what ways of socialization exist nowadays.
The process of personality development is carried out in certain social conditions shaped by features of a child’s immediate surrounding (family, close adults, friends), region, ethnocultural peculiarities, global trends. Each stage of personality development is characterized by relations with social reality, firstly named by Vygotsky (1983) as a situation of development.
Social situation of development, lining the selective character of relation a child to social environment, defines more precisely movement of interaction between a person and sociocultural environment in the process of development. Researching the social situation is analysis of the environment’s role in child’s development, his relation to definite components, appraisal of his position in social surroundings (Karabanova, 2007).
Social environment is not the external, objective factor of a child’s existence, but is one of the prime causes of his development. In other words, development takes place in solidarity of a child’s interaction with social surroundings at each age (Vernik, 2020).
The situation of development is understood as some conditions of a person’s development (Enikeev, 2009; Golovin, 1998; Nemov, 2007).
The situation of development is the system of relations between a child and social reality at each age; “the starting point” of all changes, which occur in a particular age period (Elkonin, 1989; Feldshtein, 1989).
The structure of the situation of childhood development is represented with the following stages. The first stage is set by the process of the subject’s relationship with social reality, which is determined by an objective aspect - the demands of modern social reality on teenagers and by a subjective aspect – personal interior reflections of the demands. The second stage is characterized by the ideal image, possessing the conditions which differ from the actual one for the subject, and the point of bifurcation characterizing the environment ability to develop. The third stage assumes the subject of actions of development, which lead to transformation of the subject himself and his social reality. The fourth stage presents the formation of a new social reality.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the article is to describe key factors determining the modern situation of childhood development and setting the directions of childhood and adolescent socialization and development nowadays.
The methodological background of research is formed by the following. The first is a sociocultural (environmental) approach (I.A. Vinogradov, U.S. Manuilov, L.I. Novikova, I.V. Fetter, S.T. Shatsky, V.A. Yasvin and others), used for the research as way to learn modern patterns of the childhood development situation and ways to create and transform educational environment. This is formed by the joint effort of the subjects of development themselves and close adults: pedagogues, parents. An activity approach (M. Bekhterev, L.S. Vygotsky, J. Dewey and others), which allows one to determine the activity directions of the subject of development with regard to formation and transformation of his situation of development.
The situation of development represents a child’s relation with social reality and it is represented by the cyclic sequence of stages characterized by a defining factor. The complex of these factors defines the direction of the development as a result of the cycle. The complex and the sequence of these stages are known in advance and can be presented this way.
The first stage implies establishing relationships between the subject of development and social reality which includes macro-conditions of development (global trends, economical and political situation, national features), family, social institutions of upbringing and education, groups of peers. It involves adaptation of social experience, which is set by demands on the subject at each stage of development by the agency of the important adult, who has a role of the demands’ translator. In other words, the “ideal image” of younger generation’s representative in public conscience formed on the basis of conditions and features, which compose social reality, represents the of the situation of development. The of the situation of development is the process of reflecting social reality features in a child’s conscience, evolving into emotional turmoil that forms deficits, sets, values assimilated in childhood.
This stage of the situation of child’s development is characterized by variability of ways to realize one’s potential offered by modern society. It determines a quick change of social and cultural values, the need for continuous formation of one’s own system of values, which match society’s demands.
To be successful is one of the demands on the subject in modern situation of development via mass media, parents and pedagogues, who try to create “the situation of success” for modern children – conditions, when each child or adolescent can show the ability to do something better than others. The factor of competition is undergone quite heavily by modern teenagers. It is expressed in their aspiration to “be evaluated” which can be seen in personal accounts in different social networking sites, where any material offered by a teenager should be evaluated by as many friends and subscribers as possible.
Mass media is one of the most important institutions of socialization, informal education in the modern situation of development. It also contains orienting points for younger generation’s representatives, which are success examples of famous people. Representatives of mass media promulgate values of general recognition (evidence of success), “quick success”, “life in the moment” (here and now), hedonistic lifestyle, material well-being. These examples in most cases are governing factors for defining the “ideal image” – the next stage of situation of childhood development.
General accessibility of information and distorted idealized reality, which mass media presents, reflect in modern parents’ world perception and lifestyle. Accessibility of service industry, modern technologies, images of famous people in mainstream culture force modern adults to match “imposed standards”, saving physical and emotional youth. In this case, when the age range shifts, there is a lack of responsibility for family and children. The phenomenon of infantilism among teenagers’ parents is in evidence, they aspire to save youth ingenuousness and share the responsibility with their own children. In these conditions, when parents consider their child as equal partner, teenagers have no sense of safety, which should be provided by adults. Lack of parents’ responsibility, on the one hand, may lead to early formation of child’s independence. It is a positive new formation at the adolescent age. Excessive liberalism in communication between teenagers and their parents may result in repetition of behavior patterns, when adults’ activity is focused on satisfaction of their own needs and teenagers are given a free hand. In this condition the risk of spontaneous socialization arises, which may have negative consequences.
On the other hand, nowadays the phenomenon of infantilism among children and adolescents is also present. The reason for these features in addition to objective living conditions is also another extreme of intrafamilial interaction - the phenomenon of hyperprotection from parents and elder family members as a manifestation of the value of safety and stability, learned by them in childhood. One of the reasons for such behavior is also striving to create a safe environment for development, which manifests itself as full control over all spheres of teenage life. It leads to poor development of skills of real communication, self-direction and a sedentary lifestyle. In adulthood, such behavior can be expressed in the inability to obey as well as in the naivety of the outlook on life (Karabanova & Poskrebisheva, 2011).
According to Sandomirsky (2011), modern teenagers are more familiar with the digital environment than the social one. Constant parental control over all spheres of a child's life leads to limited communication with peers, an early "immersion" in adult culture. The lack of a mixed-age company of friends and, as a consequence, the lack of opportunity to transfer experience from older friends to younger ones, there is a great need for children's contact with adults, parental assistance in resolving life contradictions.
The aspiration to create a safe environment is one of the directions of the phenomenon of "childcentrism" as a worldwide one. This phenomenon is also expressed in the aspiration to fill children’s lives with events, emotions, impressions, providing multiple choices of leisure and education, freedom of behavior. The intentional "overfilling" of the child's life activity with positive impressions leads to lack of experience of frustration and making independent decisions. This experience, as well as examples of "quick" success transmitted by the mass media, result in the fact that modern teenagers lack the experience of waiting, losing and overcoming. Freedom of choice of alternative behavior patterns, self-expression, which often contradict accepted standards of behavior, characterizes the modern situation of child’s development in terms of available opportunities (Shamis, 2017).
On the background of the existing diversity of forms of education, modern society imposes such demand to the representatives of the younger generation as multitasking. According to the majority of representatives of the public, to have general ideas about all phenomena and spheres of life, to be oriented in various scientific aspects, to have success in sports, music and educational activities, to attend cultural events and learn foreign languages is the minimum that a modern person needs to possess. It also includes the fact that they should know how to solve many problems, to be versatile, to be able to train for a new occupation and change the one which is more suitable in certain conditions.
The subjective aspect of this phenomenon can be expressed in the wrong prioritizing in choosing the activity, and the extreme degree of disagreement with the need to form this quality. The teenager can alienate himself from any activity or from a habitual way of life as a whole because of excessive "pressure" from adults. The result of formation of multitasking also can be such a quality as diligence without comprehension of significance of the carried out actions.
Modern society, with its uncertain future, along with the requirements of universality, sets models of interaction at different levels. Economic phenomena are reflected in the pattern of family behavior, both financially and socially. Modern phenomenon "sharing", profitable from the economic point of view and widespread in the sphere of transport, real estate, household items (clothes for rent) naturally leads to such a phenomenon as collaboration - temporary association of people to achieve a joint goal or perform certain joint actions. It affects the nature of interaction in the family - the appearance of such a type of relationship as "partner family", where there is no clear distribution of roles, parents and children communicate with each other, achieving certain goals, which also contributes to the early development of a sense of responsibility and independence.
of a developmental situation is characterized by the presence of “an ideal image” possessing conditions different from those in which the subject resides. The ideal image can be formed independently by the child on the basis of the social experience he or she acquires, as well as in joint activity with a significant adult, where there is another extreme - excessive activity to create “an ideal image” instead of the child. This stage is also characterized by the presence of a bifurcation point, which, according to the environmental approach, has a developmental ability of the environment, while the rest of the developmental cycle is characterized by a formative ability of the environment. Thus it is necessary to notice that at this very stage there is a multiple choice of forms of socialization, including gaining negative experience.
The modern situation of adolescent development at the stage of creating an "ideal image" is characteristic of a number of difficulties:
- difficulties of socialization in the context of a wide choice of socialization groups, the emergence of risks of alternative socialization and desocialization;
- difficulties in accepting social values amidst rapid change and uncertainty of the system of values, leading to the generation gap;
- difficulties in building social identity in the context of a wide range of patterns and models, including negative identity;
- difficulties associated with the processes of globalization and increased inter-ethnic tension;
- difficulties in communication, resulting in problems of personality development associated with the spread of the Internet and the danger of leaving real communication for virtual space. The phenomenon of escapism is widespread among children and adolescents, which is manifested in leaving the real situation for interests and hobbies not controlled by society and, as a consequence, the growth of computer, game, emotional and other addictions, restricted communication with peers, a low level of communication competence, the phenomenon of loneliness (Lebedeva, 2015).
Modern information and communication technologies and the new types of communication that emerge on their basis contribute to the emergence of a new psychological reality, the disappearance of boundaries between the virtual world and reality. Everyday life, taking place in a parallel reality, can be both started over or switched to a new one, which, ultimately, can lead to loss of self-value and a sense of irreversibility of real life. Thus, the modern school has to take into account the desire of today's adolescents for indirect communication.
In recent years, there has been the extension of the period of adolescence and identity formation inherent in this period due to increasing social uncertainty (Erickson, 1996).
The basic result expected by the end of this period is personal self-identification. Due to the above-mentioned features this period does not always end with the acquisition of self-identity, which entails the risk of an unresolved identity crisis, unwillingness to grow up, personal infantilism, separation, the preservation of emotional and personal egocentrism. This phenomenon is reflected in the increase in the duration of the adolescence period and dependence on parents.
The construction of an ideal image involves the subject himself and his environment - a significant adult, family, school, media culture. The intrusive nature of mass media will not allow to exclude their influence at this stage of the developmental situation. So the adults "accompanying" the development face the following tasks: formation of critical thinking skills; minimization of negative influence of media culture; development of "communicative repertoire"; development of emotional intelligence; formation of "social immunity" (Marsh et al., 2017).
According to the research conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation in 2020, the following aspects are highlighted as particularly important for representatives of modern generation of teenagers (born between 2004 and 2009):
- mutual understanding and positive relationships in the family;
- material well-being and comfort;
- work and professional development (Pautova, 2014).
The results show that the "ideal image" of the modern teenager is built on ideas of success, safety and material well-being.
The choice of ways to achieve the "ideal image" called "the bifurcation point" is made by the subject of development also with the participation of adults (teachers and parents) who have the task to reduce the probability of spontaneous socialization and negative consequences of alternative socialization. A teenager can choose a way to achieve an ideal image that does not meet the expectations of the adults "accompanying" him or her, thus the probability of a positive result is not excluded. In the case of spontaneous socialization, which is characterized by a greater influence from the developmental environment in comparison with purposeful educational influence, the difficulty appears precisely in the risk to lose influence on the teenager by teachers and parents when it comes to actions of correction work in relation to the behavior of the subject.
The third stage of the development situation involves actions taken by the subject of development (at an early age, together with the adult) that lead to the formation of a new social reality. The nature of the relationship that develops between the subject of development and the adult influences both participants in the process and sets the direction of development. At this stage, depending on the chosen way of self-fulfillment, adults significant to the subject should choose the appropriate strategy of interaction with the subject.
The fourth stage is the change or transformation of both the subject and his environment, or the situation of development. At this stage, a new social reality is formed. Then the process moves to a new level, and the new social reality according to a given scenario again ceases to possess the conditions that will be present in the "ideal image" of the subject of development.
The situation of child’s development represents the child's relationship with social reality and at each stage of development is represented by a cyclic sequence of stages, characterized by the presence of a defining factor, the complex of which at the end of the cycle sets the vector of this development. The sequence of stages is constant; the content of each of them depends on the environment in which development takes place.
The first stage represents the process of the subject’s relationship with society through demands of modern social reality on adolescents. It involves such characteristics as success, multitasking, versatility, autonomy in decision-making and safe behavior and the subjective aspect, formed by the emotional turmoil of the subject of social reality and formation of diligence without realizing the meaning of actions, heightened interest in all actual events, clear adoption of safe behavior’s procedure and sense of mistrust to reality.
The second stage is characterized by the presence of an ideal image possessing conditions different from those in which the subject resides and the bifurcation point characterizing the environment ability to develop. At this stage, there is a multiple choice of forms of socialization, including gaining negative experience. The "ideal image" of the modern teenager is built on notions of success, safety and material well-being.
The third stage of the situation of development involves actions taken by the subject of development that lead to the formation of a new social reality.
The fourth stage presents the change or transformation of both the subject and his environment, or the situation of development, and the formation of a new social reality.
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06 December 2021
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Uncertainty, global challenges, digital transformation, cognitive science
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Vernik, I. S. (2021). Modern Situation Of Child's Development: Structure, Characteristics, Governing Factors. In E. Bakshutova, V. Dobrova, & Y. Lopukhova (Eds.), Humanity in the Era of Uncertainty, vol 119. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 642-649). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.12.02.78