ASIS&T 2014 Annual Meeting 
Seattle, WA | October 31 - November 5, 2014

Documenting Young Children’s Information Technology Use: Observations in the Home

Lisa M. Given1, Denise Cantrell Winkler1, Rebekah Willson1, Christina Davidson1, Susan Danby2, Karen Thorpe2
Charles Sturt University, Australia; 2Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 8:30am


While there has been much interest in children’s use of different technologies, research is often done with school-age children in their classrooms. This exploratory research study looks at preschool children (aged three to five) and their use of different technologies in their own homes. This paper examines data from a checklist of technologies available in the home and video recording data of children’s interactions with online technologies and other people captured by parents, which were analyzed using a modified ‘seating sweeps’ (Given & Leckie 2003) approach to gain a detailed, descriptive analysis of the home environment.

A range of technologies are available to children, with the television and DVD player being most common in the home. Unlike desktop and laptop computers, which were restricted to adult use in half of homes, mobile computing devices (e.g., tablets and smartphones) were quite prevalent and generally available for children’s use. In almost all cases children used devices designed for adults and often used them in common spaces in the home, such as the home office (38%) or living room (36%). Many children (45%) engaged independently with technology, able to accomplish activities and learn on their own. This study contributes to a growing body of literature about how young children connect to technology and the growing digital world around them. Examining children’s interaction with technology and in the home environment allows researchers to better understand the role of technology in children’s lives.