Mapping the political economy of the digital family


As digital childhood is increasingly influenced by economic and commercial players, from global technology companies through to local education providers, this project asks: How do we theorise the political economy of digital childhood? What commercial and state interests underpin and/or mediate family uses of digital media technologies? How can we anatomise/typologise the relationship of digital media to other economic interests, from the marketing of products and brands through to broadband infrastructure and platform subscriptions?

Project aims

  • set out the conceptual and research methodology principles and traditions in this relatively new field to establish the basis for developing future projects
  • build up a knowledge repository of national and international companies operating educational and edutainment apps and software in Australia to inform families’ and educators’ decisions about selecting digital products in everyday and educational settings
  • identify gaps between the educational technology sector and Australia’s early childhood education and care sector to support developing projects that contribute to better regulation of companies and their products

Project design

The first phase of this project is to prepare the frame for a database to collect a comprehensive dataset of educational and edutainment apps and software aimed at the appropriate age range. This will be followed by identification and collection of the relevant information through survey findings (in collaboration with other Centre projects), desk research and interviews. The last part involves multimodal analysis of the collected information to prepare for the construction of an interactive database which will be ultimately made public.


June 2021 – December 2022


Dr Xinyu (Andy) Zhao

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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.

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