Scottish Universities Insight Institute : a development from the institute for advanced studies

a development from the institute for advanced studies


Digital Childhoods

This is a fast-moving time, both culturally and technologically. In the UK, most families now have their own PC, at least one mobile phone and broadband connection to the internet; and leisure technologies have transformed the ways we spend our free time. Children born this century are acquiring a wide range of technological competences from an early age; these have significant implications for their experiences and expectations of learning as they enter the early years of education, for their everyday lives, and for their future careers.

Although extensive research has investigated the use of technology by older children and teenagers, children aged 3-6 have been largely overlooked. Digital Childhoods brings together different perspectives to explore the potential of digital technologies to support young children’s play and leisure, learning, communicative competence and creativity. Emerging technologies provide opportunities to experiment with new forms of interfaces and new modes of interaction, particularly suitable for young children who do not have fine motor skills and are just learning to read. They afford new opportunities for digital play and learning, sometimes through familiar forms, such as toys, dolls or construction bricks, and sometimes through new devices which remove the need for a controller. The companies that design these products and bring them to market tell us that they need more input from social scientists, educators, and psychologists to assist in the creation and testing of prototypes.

This programme will bring together academics from a range of disciplines (education, computer science, sociology, psychology and media studies) with professional, media, business and policy experts in digital technologies for young children to address the issues raised by these developments, via the themes of Childhoods and Parenting, Playing and Learning; and Creating and Communicating.


  • Programme team
  • Creating Open Day June
  • Creating Expert Forum June
  • Learning Open Day May
  • Learning Expert forum May
  • Open Day March
  • Expert Forum March


Documents, presentations and briefing papers for this programme are available in the Document library. Programme outputs and publications are also included in the library as they become available.

Key dates

1. Childhood and Parenting

24-25th March 2011

2. Playing and Learning

12-13th May 2011

3. Creating and Communicating

16-17th June 2011

External links

Digital Childhoods website

Click to view the Digital Childhoods website with further links and videos.