Young children in digital society: an online tool for service provision

The challenge

Adults who educate and care for young children are exposed to mixed messages about what is in the best interests of young children in digital society. Such mixed messaging makes it difficult for adults to make decisions about the use of technology by young children.

This project addresses this problem by working with leading organisations that provide services related to quality digital media production, online-safety education, digital play and digital parenting to identify the practices enacted and shared among children, families and educators in digital society. The aim is to create an online tool that will empirically inform service provision about digital technology use ‘with, by and for’ young children.

Project overview

This project aims to build on the completed work of the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies by providing practice-advice for educators and families about digital technology use ‘with, by and for’ young children, in four areas of importance for participation in digital society:

  1. relationships
  2. health and wellbeing
  3. citizenship
  4. play and pedagogy.

The project brings together partner organisations and children, families and educators from diverse social settings including family day care, playgroup, kindergarten and long day care for collaborative research using participatory design.

Participatory design is used to integrate four investigations — one per area of the ECA Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies, using methods including ethnography, longitudinal, quasi-experimental and intrinsic case study.


A new online tool will be developed for the partner organisations to share exemplar practices benefiting Australian children, their families and educators with new resources, materials and programs in areas including digital media production, cyber-safety education, digital play and digital parenting. This project supports organisations to use an empirically informed approach to service provision regarding using technologies in the best interests of young children.

Project team

The project brings together a strong team involving five universities (Australian Catholic University, Curtin, Deakin, La Trobe and Monash University) and six partner organisations. Other leading international scholars have also worked with the team to date and will continue to be engaged in this research in an advisory capacity.

Project partners

  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Australian Federal Police
  • The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
  • Early Childhood Australia Inc
  • eSafety Commissioner
  • Raising Children Network (Australia) Limited


May 2020 – December 2024


Australian Research Council (ARC- Linkage Scheme)


Partner organisation funding


More information


young children, digital technologies, practices