Technologies are a pervasive feature of contemporary life for adults and children. However, young children’s experiences with digital technologies are often the subject of polarised debate among parents, educators, policymakers and social commentators, particularly since the advent of tablets and smartphones changed access to the Internet and the nature of interactions with digital resources. Some are opposed to children’s engagement with digital resources, concerned that the activities they afford are not developmentally appropriate, limit physical activity and restrict the development of social skills. Others welcome digital technologies which they see as offering new and enhanced ways of learning and sharing knowledge. Despite this level of popular and policy interest in young children’s interactions with digital technologies our understanding of the influence of these technologies on playing and learning, and on the role of educators, has remained surprisingly limited.
The contributions to this book fill in the gaps of our existing understanding of the field. They focus on children and families from Australia to England to Estonia, the how and why of encounters with digital technologies, the nature of digital play and questions about practice and practitioners. The book raises critical questions and offers new understandings and theoretical insights around one of the ‘hot topics’ in early years research.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Early Years journal.
Table of Contents
Introduction Christine Stephen
1. The role of parents and parental mediation on 0–3-year olds’ digital play with smart devices: Estonian parents’ attitudes and practices Elyna Nevski and Andra Siibak
2 Digital play: a new classification Jackie Marsh, Lydia Plowman, Dylan Yamada-Rice, Julia Bishop and Fiona Scott
3. Interlaced social worlds: exploring the use of social media in the kindergarten Helen Knauf
4. An ecological exploration of young children’s digital play: framing children’s social experiences with technologies in early childhood Lorna Arnott
5. Digital play as a means to develop children’s literacy and power in the Swedish preschool Leif Marklund and Elza Dunkels
6. Teachers’ dispositions towards the role of digital devices in play-based pedagogy in early childhood education Ioanna Palaiologou
7. Developing a measure to understand young children’s Internet cognition and cyber-safety awareness: a pilot test Susan Edwards, Andrea Nolan, Michael Henderson, Helen Skouteris, Ana Mantilla, Pamela Lambert and Jo Bird
Christine Stephen researches children’s learning in the early years and the ways in which this is supported in preschool settings and at home. She has co-directed a series of studies of young children’s encounters with digital technology and has co-authored many journal articles and two books about growing up with new technologies. Her concern with the influence of culture and children’s everyday life at home and in their educational settings is reflected in her research on their play and learning in a digital age.
Liz Brooker was an early-years teacher before returning to research and teach at London University Institute of Education, UK, in 1996. Her work has frequently examined early transitions in children’s lives, from home to nursery and through the subsequent phases of schooling. She was an editor of Early Years until 2017.
Pamela Oberhuemer is a Visiting Research Fellow at the State Institute of Early Childhood Research, Munich, Germany. Her main research and publication focus is on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) systems in the European context, particularly on cross-national issues relating to the early-childhood workforce. She was an editorial board member of Early Years from 1998—2006 and joined the editorial team in 2007.
Rod Parker-Rees is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Plymouth Institute of Education, University of Plymouth, UK, where he was formerly coordinator of Early Childhood Studies. He has been a co-editor of Early Years since 1999. Once upon a time he was a nursery teacher in Bristol.