New study to canvas the good and bad at home in the digital age

A world first study will investigate how Australian children from birth to 8-years-old use technology at home and with their families.

The study will be undertaken by Deakin University and other universities for the newly established Australian Research Council.

It will investigate the impacts of digital technology on kids – the good and bad.

Deakin’s School of Education’s Professor Julian Sefton-Green said digital technology is fundamentally changing the nature of education, both inside and out of the home.

“One of the difficult things for parents, and teachers, is that advice about the impact of screen time is so conflicting,” he said.

“Children are growing, learning and connecting with digital technology but there is scarce evidence and a lack of shared understanding about the screen time that results in positive outcomes for children and those that create risks or harm.

“Many parents also feel anxious about the amount of time their children spend on their screens.

“Fears and concerns can lead to parents restricting or limiting screen time but this can also result in children missing out on opportunities to use digital technology in ways that will help them flourish.”

Deakin researchers will look at how kids use technology at home including video games, children’s digital rights, access to technology and impacts on family wellbeing.

“This is the first time research of this size and scale has been undertaken on this topic in the world,” Professor Sefton-Green said.

“It will give us the information we need to help parents and teachers better understand the enormous potential of digital technology so that we can help children build their resilience in this space and maximise their opportunities to learn and play but at the same time use digital technology in a safe and sustainable way.”