School of Arts and Humanities
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child
This article arises from recent industry-partner research between the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, the LEGO Group, and Edith Cowan University (ECU), examining new ways of communicating children’s perspectives of digital citizenship to policy makers and industry in a project called Digital Safety and Citizenship Roundtables: Using Consultation and Creativity to Engage Stakeholders (Children, Policy Influencers, Industry) in Best Practice in India, South Korea, and Australia. We posed the research question: What are children’s everyday experiences of digital citizenship in these countries, and how might these contribute to digital citizenship policy and practice? In research roundtables, we immersed children aged 3 to 13 in a three-pronged child-centred multimodal methodology that included drawing, show-and-tell discussion, and a block building activity. It is this third block-related method that this article investigates: the project’s adoption of an activity using the LEGO brick whereby the children expressed their views about their everyday digital worlds via brick toy constructions. In this article, we explain how such toy play can be used as a communicative strategy to give children agency so that they can creatively interject their voices into ongoing discussions about children’s digital citizenship. Such an approach takes a children’s rights perspective and considers the ethics of research with children, whereby “young children have rights; [and] they are agents and active constructors of their social worlds” (Sun et al.). The project was also subject to a rigorous human ethics approval process at ECU. This article highlights the benefits of the brick toy as a communicative device for amplifying children’s voices about their everyday experiences of media and digital cultures and ends by illustrating some of the children’s views depicted in their brick toy creations.
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