Longitudinal Family Study

A global-first study of 3000 families to provide the big picture on digital technologies in early childhood

“What and how much digital technology is currently used by young children, and to what effects?”

Digital technologies are rapidly changing. They are used with, and accessed by, even the very youngest children. Our global-first Longitudinal Family Study will investigate the extent, nature and ongoing effects of Australian children’s engagement with digital technologies.

We are the first study in the world to investigate children’s digital engagement at a population level, documenting and tracking patterns of digital engagement of more than 3000 Australian families and their children from birth to seven years of age.

Our study has been designed to provide the big picture; to identify potential problems and unmet possibilities associated with digital technologies in early childhood. Our study will build new understandings to help identify policy and practice ‘hot spots’ for detailed investigation, with the aim of informing solutions and opportunities for optimisation for the diversity of Australian children, their families and society.

Our Family Study is uniquely transdisciplinary, intersecting across areas of Health, Education and Connectedness to provide a holistic view of children’s experiences and the impact of digital technologies.

Additionally, the Family Study will identify how contemporary use of digital technology varies – across different social and geographical groups – along with other factors that relate to digital technology use; for example, characteristics of the child (such as gender, birth order), family make up (e.g., single parent, teen parents, dual income, high-tech use parents).

Sitting within the Family Study are nested studies that focus on the Healthy Child, Educated Child and Connected Child. These studies will use subsamples of either several hundred or several dozen participants from the Family Study. While they vary in design, methodological approaches and analytic frameworks, each of the programs link and connect with others to provide a holistic view of children’s experiences digital technologies and their impact.

Read about our investigators in the Longitudinal Family Study.

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.