Building cyber-safety practices through play-based learning in early childhood education setting

Year: 2016

Author: Edwards, Susan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The cyber-safety practices of pre-school aged children present a unique and new challenge for early childhood teachers (Edwards, et al., 2015). For the first time in the history of the internet, young children are now able to use touchscreen technologies to go online independently of adult supervision. While online participation has many learning and social benefits for young children, it is also attendant with risks. These risks include: accidently viewing inappropriate content, being over-exposed toadvertising, or inadvertently responding to pop-ups that can compromise the security of their devices. While older children are well catered for in terms of cyber-safety education, little is known about how best to engage very young children in developing cyber-safety practices that mediate appropriate online decision-making. In this paper, we present early research regarding 4-5 year olds’ understandings of the internet and their consequent levels of cyber-safety awareness. We argue that young children’s concepts of the internet should be considered foundational to the development of their cybersafety practices in the early years. Drawing on Vygotsky’s (1987) ideas about everyday and scientific concepts, we illustrate the potential of a new Pedagogical Play Framework (Edwards & Cutter-Mackenzie, 2011) for developing young children’s cyber-safety practices in the context of play-based early education settings. ReferencesEdwards, S., & Cutter-Mackenzie, A. (2011). Environmentalizing early childhood curriculum through play-based pedagogies. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(1), 51-59.Edwards, S., Skouteris, H. Nolan, A., & Henderson, M. (2015). Young children’s internet cognition. Chapter in S. Garvis and N. Lemon (Eds.), Understanding digital technologies and young children: An international perspective, (pp.38-46). New York: Routledge.Vygotsky, L. S. (1987). Problems of general psychology. In R. Rieber, A. Carton & N. Minick (Eds. & Trans.) The collected works of L.S.Vygotsky (Vol.1). New York, NY: Plenum Press.