First-time parents’ plans for the digital lives of their preschool child(ren)


Research suggests many parents of young children are making decisions about their children’s digital media engagement on an ad-hoc basis. However, some parents regret not having had a clear trajectory around media use and skill development as their child develops unanticipated digital habits and dispositions. This project explores first-time parents’ attitudes to preschool children’s (aged 0-4) participation rights and investigates the reciprocal nature of how parents plan to embed digital engagement in their child’s life and how children respond to this mediation.

Project aims

  • explore dimensions, and map dynamics, of parents’ plans (or lack of plans) as per indicative research reported in Parents' failure to plan for their children's digital futures
  • understand where parents go to for advice on creating a digital plan or pathway for their child
  • explore how parents influence each other through focus groups

Project design

Qualitative interviews and focus groups: Up to three qualitative interviews with each of 18 families will address their plan, or their unwillingness to plan, for their child’s digital engagement and their subsequent reflections on those decisions. Two focus groups will discuss what has and hasn’t worked for the families, and parents’ perceptions of what preschool aged (0-4) children ‘should’ know about digital media.

Social constructionism, everyday ethics, ethnography: These approaches will capture first-time parents’ constructions of digital plans as part of everyday life, surfacing parents’ attitudes and beliefs, while exploring how their interactions with their developing child reshapes each plan.

Activity plan for 2022

  • recruit and interview first-time parents
  • identify resources used by parents when making plans for their children’s digital lives
  • host a 2-day Digital Child 0-18 symposium


December 2021 – December 2023


Professor Lelia Green

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The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child acknowledges the First Australian owners of the lands on where we gather and pay our respects to the Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits of this country.