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Perth set to host international conference exploring children and the internet

Image courtesy of: ECU

How social media is birthing a new generation of child stars, immobile children using mobile devices, and vlogging of family life are just some of the topics up for discussion at an international conference investigating children and the internet.

The Digitising Early Childhood International Conference, hosted by Edith Cowan University (ECU), will return to the Novotel Langley Hotel Perth from 9 – 13 July 2018, bringing with it top researchers from around the world.

ECU Professor of Communications Lelia Green’s keynote address explores how 0 – 5 year-olds use the internet and whether parents are prepared for the digital challenges ahead.

“There are steps that parents of young children can take to help their child enjoy a positive relationship with the digital world. However, they need to be aware that their own digital habits may be sending very different signals to their kids,” Professor Green said.

She will also argue for the benefits of skills development and social connectedness for young children online, and whether restrictions like internet filters are helpful or whether they prevent children from developing the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Other conference highlights include:

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Mobile devices and immobile children: are young children at greater risk of poor physical health and development if they use mobile touch screen devices?
Keynote address – Professor Leon Straker – Curtin University
The community is divided on whether it’s a good thing for children to use mobile touch-screen devices because of the concern using screen-based technology will be too sedentary and children will not experience enough physical activity. This presentation reviews what physical and developmental risks mobile screen devices pose for young children and suggestions on how to minimise those risks.

Children’s virtual play interactions in offline spaces
Ashley Donkin & Dr Donell Holloway – Edith Cowan University
Virtual worlds have become popular places for kids to spend their leisure time, but do these spaces support children’s friendships? This research explores how 5 -12 year old Australian children use virtual worlds, including Minecraft, Clash of Clans and Terraria, the risks they negotiate and the social benefits they gain.

Parental Management of Children’s domestic online videogame usage
Will Balmford, Larissa Hjorth and Ingrid Richardson – RMIT University
This research explores the tension between childhood online play practices and parental supervision. Research suggests a rethink about management approaches is required to better facilitate ‘balanced usage’ practices.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Wild Child, Fame Game, Cash Dash: Genres of Celebrity Childhoods in Social Media Economies
Crystal Abidin – Jönköping University
This presentation reviews internet celebrity childhoods and how social media is birthing a new generation of child stars. It considers how some foetuses, babies, toddlers, young children, and pre-teens are subjected to having their everyday lives curated and amplified by intimate others or professional corporations to sizable viewerships on social media, raking in lucrative advertorial fees and endorsement deals, while literally growing up on the internet.

Generation Tagged and the Global You Tube Family
Helen Ryan and Emma Nottingham, University of Winchester UK
Very young children are participating in social media platforms more than ever before, often at the instigation of others. Over the last few years increasing numbers of parents are prepared to record the daily lives of their children, even in the face of anonymous threats to their health and welfare. This presentation discusses privacy issues and the legal, regulatory and ethical framework to protect the child’s ‘digital person’.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Enable – ASD: Enabling Collaboration in the Classroom with the Use of Touchscreen Devices with Young Children with Autism
Chrysoula Mangafa – The Open University (UK)
Autism affects more than 1 in 150 children in Australia. Despite young children with autism having an affinity with digital technologies, parents and teachers often worry about screen time and choosing appropriate mobile applications. This research explores a set of guidelines to help teachers and parents use touchscreen devices with an autistic child in more collaborative ways.

Source: ECU

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