This pre-conference celebrates, critiques and is concerned about the activities of very young children online. It is of groundbreaking relevance to educators, media and communication theorists and psychologists. Even eight years ago, the idea that pre-verbal babies and toddlers would be able to access internet content unaided would have been fanciful. These days, it is an unremarkable activity within the wealthier nations of the world. The inclusion of very young children within the digital realm raises many issues and the speed with which this has happened has outpaced policy development and evidence-based research.
Until 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that only children over two should have any access to screen technologies and many people still believe that access below that age is totally unsuitable. Although these guidelines have now been softened, and the value of digitally facilitated social connection for even the youngest children is more accepted, parents, caregivers and researchers continue to feel uncertain about the key issues of when, what and for how long different ages of young children should be allowed to use digital technologies.
Alongside this, digital technologies have become an essential element in many kindergartens and pre-primaries, integrated across a play-based curriculum.
The development of early years multi-model literacies is keenly embraced by many educators in the face of those who argue that digital technologies are better introduced at an older age.
These are the issues that motivate this conference, along with key concerns around privacy, children’s rights, policy development, risks and benefits.
Call for 2019 abstracts for the Digitising Early Childhood International Pre-Conference in Manchester, UK will open soon with the closing date in mid-November 2018. Peer reviewed full conference papers will be published on the DigiLitEY website, and plans are being made to further publish in a special issue journal or chaptered book.