How do parents and peers negotiate troubling peer-based digital interactions?
Australia and New Zealand Communication Association
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
Australian Research Council
ARC Number : DP110100864
Guidelines from the health professions typically advise strict time limits on young children’s screen time. Based for the most part on policy developed by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP, 1999; Brown, 2011), it is usually recommended that children under two have no screen time at all (Brown,2011:1040), and children over this age have no more than two hours a day (Strasburger et al., 2013 : 959). Conversely, early childhood education guidelines promote the development of digital literacy skills (Australian Government Department of Education, 2009). Further, education –based research indicates that access to computers and the internet in the preschool years is associated with overall educational achievement (Bittman et al., 2011; Cavanaugh et al., 2004; Judge et al., 2006; Neumann, 2014).These differing points of view have a tendency to “polarise rather than advance policy development” (Livingstone, 2011: 161) about how best to support very young children’s engagement with the internet in safe and beneficial ways. Parents of children in this age range are usually experienced internet users themselves, and many are comfortable with their children using these child -friendly touchscreen devices (Findahl, 2013). Digital technologies are integral to their everyday lives, often making daily life easier and improving communication with family and friends, even during the high pressure parenting years of raising toddlers and preschoolers. Such families currently lack realistic evidence-based guidelines which take into consideration differences in screens (television or touchscreen), content (ebooks or cartoon videos), activity levels (active or passive; Sweetster et al., 2012), and context (co-use or independent use), in order to help support very young children in their engagement with these online technologies in safe and beneficial ways.