Australia and New Zealand Communication Association
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Arts and Humanities
After nearly 15 years of research into the risk and harm of the internet for children and young people, research attention is beginning to turn towards investigating the social and emotional skills children and young people need to successfully engage in the digital world. This turn, from a protectionist-only approach to a more nuanced research agenda, examines the positive and negative implications of minors’ internet use, including all the protective factors children need to engage effectively and safely online. This change in research agenda will go some way towards helping children develop the skills they need to participate and navigate in a networked world. This paper analyses qualitative, exploratory research, which focussed on children and teenagers’ experiences and parental concerns about internet usage, finding that children and teenagers’ social and emotional maturity (along with well-developed digital skills) is a key element in their thoughtful and constructive use of the internet. It explores links between social and emotional literacies and digital literacies, and their influence on children and young people’s ability to use the internet in beneficial and safe ways. Along with a call for further research in this area, the paper also discusses how it makes good sense to include a ‘risk and resilience’ approach to internet safety. Online resilience (like offline resilience) can be developed through exploration and some experience with risk.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.