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Mapping of studies into digital childhoods begins

19 Aug, 2021

Investigators at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child have commenced a range of literature reviews to map out and capture what is currently known about young children’s digital technology use.

This includes review of studies into digital technology use by young children, family and community perspectives on young children’s digital technology use, media use by families, and the potential physical impacts of digital technology use by infants and toddlers.

Chief Investigator Dr Juliana Zabatiero, who leads two of the mapping projects, said the literature reviews were critical to informing and guiding the Centre’s own research projects on digital childhoods.

“There have been hundreds of studies conducted around the world into young children’s digital technology use,” said Dr Zabatiero.

“Most focus on earlier technologies, such as television and computers, and their sole impacts on children’s health, education or connectedness – our Centre’s goal is to provide a holistic and transdisciplinary view of contemporary digital childhoods across all these areas.”

“We’re mapping out and tapping into these existing studies to synthesise what’s already known in the areas of digital childhoods, identify where the gaps are and how the Centre can further understanding and knowledge.”

A summary of the literature review projects is listed below. If you would like more information on these projects, please contact the lead Chief Investigator or email info@digitalchild.org.au.


Correlates and outcomes of digital technology use by young children: phase 1

This first phase of this project will capture what is known about the correlates and outcomes of digital technology use by young children and potential child, family and wider environment correlates and child health, wellbeing and developmental outcomes. The findings will inform future research to enhance the understanding of factors related to technology use and support evidence-based guidance.

Lead Chief Investigator: Juliana Zabatiero
Investigators: Dylan Cliff, Steven Howard, Daniel JohnsonMyrto Mavilidi, Sally Staton, Leon Straker, Karen Thorpe
Programs: Healthy, Educated, Connected


Family and community perspectives on digital technology use by young children: phase 1

The first phase of this project will capture what is known about the current perspectives of the community regarding digital technology use by young children, including parents, professionals, service providers and industry. The project will synthesise what is known about current perspectives, and methods used to capture these, to inform future research to enable effective translation of evidence-based guidance to support children’s health, wellbeing and development in a digital society.

Lead Chief Investigator: Juliana Zabatiero
Investigators: Sue Bennett, Amity CampbellSuzy Edwards, Courtenay Harris, Tama Leaver, Julian Sefton-Green, Leon Straker
Programs: Healthy, Educated, Connected, Longitudinal Family Cohort Study


Mapping media use by families

This study reviews how academic research has described, measured and conceptualised media and digital technology use in families. It will offer a global comparative comprehensive scoping review of research in the field to act as a baseline for every day digital use in Australian families in our study.

Lead Chief Investigator: Julian Sefton-Green
Investigators: Sue Bennett, Michael Dezuanni
Programs: Educated, Connected


Measurement of technology use by infants and toddlers and their posture and movement: phase 1

This first phase of this project will capture what is known about the current methods to measure digital technology use by infants and toddlers and their posture and movement during device use, including proxy report, direction observation, interaction data and wearable sensors and will inform future research on how to capture technology use by young children to guide future research studies.

Lead Chief Investigator: Leon Straker
Investigators: Amity Campbell, Dylan Cliff, Courtenay Harris, Karen Murcia, Luci Pangrazio, Andrew Rohl, Simon Smith, Juliana Zabatiero
Programs: Healthy, Educated, Connected, Longitudinal Family Cohort Study


Physical issues of technology use by infants and toddlers: phase 1

This first phase of this project will capture what is known about the potential physical impacts of digital technology use by infants and toddlers. It will inform future research on how to capture technology use by young children and the possible physical effects to provide the foundation for building high quality evidence-based guidance for those responsible for children’s health, wellbeing and development.

Lead Chief Investigator: Leon Straker
Investigators: Amity Campbell, Courteny Harris, Juliana Zabatiero, Louise Paatsch
Programs: Healthy

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

The Centre recognises that the examples we set in diversity and inclusion will support young children to respect and celebrate differences in all people. We embed diversity, inclusivity and equality into all aspects of the Centre’s activities and welcome all people regardless of race, ethnicity, social background, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and national origin.