New guidance for educators on young children and digital technologies

by Lyndsie Clark

September 24

A new resource has been released to help early childhood educators make informed decisions about the use of digital technology to aid with the learning and development of children within their care.  

 

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) brought together experts in technologies, child development, health and wellbeing and early childhood education to develop the Statement on young children and digital technologies, which aims to be a practical resource for educators to help them navigate the use of digital technologies with young children.

 

Drawing on the latest research, the Statement on young children and digital technologies provides advice on four key areas of early childhood:

 

  • Relationships;
  • Health and wellbeing;
  • Citizenship; and,
  • Play and pedagogy.

 

Co-author, Professor Susan Edwards, from the Australian Catholic University, said “Early childhood educators are uniquely placed to make informed decisions about digital technology use that are in the best interests of children, based on their professional knowledge of how young children play, learn and develop. They can also work in partnership with families to model appropriate use of digital technology.”

 

The ‘Health and wellbeing’ section of the Statement outlines how digital technologies can be used in ways that moderate sedentary screen-time and promote movement opportunities for young children, such as:

 

  • playing with robots and game devices that require whole-body movement (like a dance step game on an electronic mat)
  • using screen technologies to research class investigations (like a video tutorial on how to plant a vegetable garden)
  • video-recording physical activities, e.g. jumping, skipping, climbing and re-watching in slow-motion, or
  • using wearable technology (like Fitbits) to develop awareness of the benefits of physical activity.

 

“The Statement also addresses digital citizenship, which considers children’s right to access technology and the Internet, as well as their right to online privacy and safety,” said Professor Edwards. “With young children increasingly using the Internet it is important that they are able to participate safely in online environments.”

 

ECA National President Chris Legg said “The Statement on young children and digital technologies is a much-needed guide for educators to support young children to avoid the risks and maximise the benefits of using digital technologies. It will help adults to model constructive behaviour around digital technologies and support children to develop the skills they need to navigate the digital world.”

 

Click here to read or download the statement.

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