Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA)
Place of Publication
Dr D. Bossio
Faculty of Education & Arts
School of Communications & Arts
Australian Research Council
ARC Number : DE140101978
Children’s Internet use is rapidly changing. Tweens' (9–12) usage patterns now resemble those of teenagers five to six years ago, and younger children’s (5–8) usage is approaching that of tweens. Primary school aged children are increasingly engaging in virtual worlds with social network functions (game sites such as Club Penguin, Minecraft or Webkinz). These digital public spaces carry with them opportunities as well as risk. With policy resources often targeting high school children, there is a need to map the benefits, risks and competencies associated with these trends, and develop recommendations for parents and policy makers. This paper analyses the ethical challenges posed in a new research project funded by the Australian Research Council entitled Digital Play: Social network sites and the well-being of young children.