Michael Henderson presents to the Early Childhood Nordic Research Group an exploration of Cyber-safety education in the early years: concepts of the everyday and those of human designs
- Michael Henderson, Monash University, Australia
- Susan Edwards, Australian Catholic University
- Andrea Nolan, Deakin University, Australia
- Ana Mantilla, Australian Catholic University
- Lydia Plowman, University of Edinburgh
- Helen Skouteris, Deakin University, Australia
Cyber-safety education for young children is an under-researched area. However, internet-enabled mobile and touchscreen devices have quite literally put the internet at the fingertips of the very youngest of children. Digital media content, games and apps are now commonly accessed by young children for entertainment, learning and ‘edutainment’ purposes. This means that young children, like their older counterparts, require access to cyber-safety education. However, the limited cyber-safety resources available for educators and carers predominantly focus on a small range of risks and in the vacuum of other guidance have adopted a ‘layered’ approach commonly used with older children. In contrast, we argue that it is not possible to teach children about cyber-safety education until more is known about how they understand the internet in the first instance. This presentation will describe early findings from a project investigating how early childhood teachers can engage young children in cyber-safety education. In particular the presentation will report on our findings within an Australian early childhood centre, revealing 4-5 year old children’s everyday concepts of the internet. The presentation will also describe some of the well-known and lesser understood risks and conclude with a proposition that one way to engage in cyber-safety education is to build on the everyday concepts with understandings of the human centred designs within technology and its surrounding practices.