Toddlers and tablets

Toddlers and Tablets

Exploring the risks and benefits 0-5s face online

The three year project (2015-2018) ‘Toddlers and Tablets: exploring the risks and benefits 0-5s face online’ researches the rapidly growing population of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers who are embracing online interactions via iPads, tablets and smartphones. This project investigates family practices and attitudes around very young children’s internet use in Australia and the United Kingdom with the aim of developing recommendations for policy makers and offering guidelines for parents of three age groups: 0-1, 2-3 and 4-5.

Funded by the Australian Research Council as part of the Discovery Projects scheme, the Toddlers and Tablets project involves a collaboration between Edith Cowen University, the LSE and the Dublin Institute for Technology.

Background

This project researches the rapidly growing population of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers who are embracing online interactions via iPads, tablets and smartphones. Where previously this age group has been effectively been locked out of online participation due to poor motor skills which prevents them from using a mouse or keyboard, the new touch and swipe technologies make it possible for babies and toddlers to operate internet-connected technologies before they are capable of walking or talking.

Parents of children in this age range are usually experienced internet users themselves, and many are comfortable with their children using these child-friendly touchscreen devices. Digital technologies are integral to their everyday lives, often making daily life easier and improving communication with family and friends, even during the high pressure parenting years of raising toddlers and pre-schoolers. However, such families currently lack realistic evidence-based guidelines which take into consideration differences in screens (television or touchscreen), content (eBooks or cartoon videos), activity levels (active or passive), and context (co-use or independent use), in order to help support very young children in their engagement with these online technologies in safe and beneficial ways.

The project team have previously collaborated in the EU Kids Online project, including producing the report Zero to eight: Young children and their internet use, which reviewed research on very young children.

Objectives

1. Analyse the ways in which adults are introducing digital technologies to pre-school children (0-5 year olds, inclusive) and the contexts in which these technologies are used;

2. Examine the rationales and strategies used by parents in deciding whether and when to allow very young children to play online, as well as what online activities and content they choose as suitable for their very young children;

3. Gather video material around children’s online play for analysis, involving children in the 0-5 agegroup in research about what they like to do online, and why;

4. Use an evidence-based media studies perspective to participate in the debate about pre-schoolers’ internet use currently emerging in the domains of psychology and paediatrics;

5. Compare the perspectives and experiences of Australian families with families in the UK.

6. Inform and chart the development of Australian policy in the area, comparing this with equivalent developments in the UK and in Europe more generally.

Participants

Project coordinator

Prof Lelia Green
School of Communications and Arts 
Edith Cowan University 
Faculty of Education and Arts 
2 Bradford Street 
Mount Lawley 
WA 6050 
Australia 

Email: l.green@ecu.edu.au 

Australian team

LeliaGreen

Lelia Green is Professor of Communications in the School of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, and also a visiting professor at the LSE Department of Media and Communications. She has been researching the Internet in family life since 2002 and has been a collaborating researcher with EU Kids Online since 2006. Author or co-author of over 150 chapters and peer reviewed publications, Lelia's ten Australian Research Council grants total almost $2 million.

Donell

Donell Holloway is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow based at Edith Cowan University in Perth Australia. As an experienced ethnographer, she has carried out qualitative research in diverse settings. This includes families and their Internet use and children and their Internet use. She has authored or co-authored over 50 refereed journal articles, book chapters and conference papers.

kylie

Kylie Stevenson is a researcher at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Western Australia working on the Toddlers and Tablets project and two further Australian Research Council funded projects: Parents and Peers, about teenagers and social media; and industry partner research with St Vincent de Paul about intergenerational welfare dependency.


UK team

Sonia Livingstone

Sonia Livingstone is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She is author or editor of twenty books about media audiences, with a focus on children and young people. She blogs at www.parenting.digital and is now working on parenting and children’s rights in the digital age.

LeslieHaddon2014

Leslie Haddon is a senior researcher in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE. Over the last 25 years he has worked chiefly on the social shaping and consumption of information and communication technologies. He was part of the coordinating team for the EU Kids Online project and was a member of the Net Children Go Mobile project

  

Irish team

Brian ONeill

Brian O'Neill, PhD, is Head of the School of Media at the Dublin Institute of Technology, and a researcher in media literacy and new media technologies. He is the author of reports and articles on media policy in relation to children, technology and new media. He is a member of the Digital Radio Cultures in the Europe research group and was a member of the EU Kids Online and Net Children Go Mobile projects

Links and resources

Publications and videos

  • "Here's why we shouldn't be so worried about little children using technology". Edith Cowan University, YouTube. [View]
  • LSE's Parenting for a Digital Future blog www.parenting.digital.
  • Holloway, D., Green, L. & Livingstone, S. (2013). Zero to eight: Young children and their internet use. LSE. [Text] [Video]
  • Chaudron, S. (2015) Young Children (0-8) and Digital Technology. JRC [Text]
  • Chaudron S., Beutel M.E, Černikova M., Donoso Navarette V., Dreier M., Fletcher-Watson B., Heikkilä A-S., Kontríková V., Korkeamäki R-L., Livingstone S., Marsh J., Mascheroni G., Micheli M., Milesi D., Müller K.W. , Myllylä-Nygård T., Niska M., Olkina O., Ottovordemgentschenfelde S., Plowman L., Ribbens W., Richardson J., Schaack C. , Shlyapnikov V., Šmahel D., Soldatova G. and Wölfling K. (2015) Young Children (0-8) and digital technology: A qualitative exploratory study across seven countries. JRC 93239 / EUR 27052 / ISBN 978-92-79-45023-5 / ISSN: 1831-9424. [Text]
  • Mascheroni, G., Livingstone, S., Dreier, M. and Chaudron, S. (2016) Learning versus play or learning through play? How parents’ imaginaries, discourses and practices around ICTs shape children’s (digital) literacy practices. Media Education: Studies and Research, 7(2): 261-280. [Text]
  • Chaudron S.,  Beutel M.E, Černikova M., Donoso Navarette V.,  Dreier M., Fletcher-Watson B., Heikkilä A-S., Kontríková V., Korkeamäki R-L., Livingstone S., Marsh J., Mascheroni G., Micheli M., Milesi D., Müller K.W. , Myllylä-Nygård T., Niska M., Olkina O., Ottovordemgentschenfelde S., Plowman L., Ribbens W., Richardson J., Schaack C. , Shlyapnikov V., Šmahel D., Soldatova G. and Wölfling K. (2015) Young Children (0-8) and digital technology: A qualitative exploratory study across seven countries. JRC 93239 / EUR 27052 / ISBN 978-92-79-45023-5 / ISSN: 1831-9424 [Text]
  • Livingstone, S., Mascheroni, G., Dreier, M., Chaudron, S. and Lagae, K. (2015) How parents of young children manage digital devices at home: The role of income, education and parental style. LSE, London: EU Kids Online. [Text]
  • Blum-Ross, A. and Livingstone, S. (2017) “Sharenting,” parent blogging and the boundaries of the digital self. Popular Communication, 15(2): 110-125. [Text]
  • Livingstone, S. and Blum-Ross, A. (2017) Researching children and childhood in the digital age. In James, A. and Christensen, P. (Eds), Research with children (pp.54-70), 3rd edition. London: Routledge. [Text]
  • Blum-Ross, A. and Livingstone, S. (2016) Families and screen time: current advice and emerging research. LSE Media Policy Project, Media Policy Brief 17. LSE: London, UK. [Text]

Contact

For the UK: l.g.haddon@lse.ac.uk