Stories of friendship and responsibility online”: Using stories to listen to children’s voices as part of a multi-agency approach to online safety

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This research is aimed at empowering the voice of younger children, viewing them as competent research participants, able of contributing to existing knowledge about online safety and raising awareness of how this affects them in an ever-changing world. Previous studies suggest younger children show little awareness of what the internet is and any associated risks or benefits (Chaudron, 2015), therefore, this study was aimed at increasing children’s agency to help shape wider understanding of child online safety. The study proposes an ecological view of younger children’s relationship with digital technologies, recognising them as important contributors alongside educators and parents. Using a phenomenological approach, the paper discusses a storytelling creative research method within a UK school setting. It examines the potential for facilitating children’s voices aged four to five, creating multiple opportunities to voice their experiences, knowledge and perceptions of the digital world. Setting and participant children’s parental informed consent was obtained. Parents received a verbal script explaining the research to the children, 'The Information Letter’ and 'The Letter that gives my Permission’. Prior to data collection, the children gave their assent using emoji stickers, which was recorded verbally. Findings demonstrate the benefits of stories as a research method, creating a constructive environment for discussions about issues that are important to younger children. The paper thus seeks to demonstrate how creative methodologies can stimulate and recognise children’s voices, providing insights into children’s understanding of online safety and how these can assist practitioners and parents in supporting younger children’s safe digital engagement.
Period31 Aug 2018
Event title28th European Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference: Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities
Event typeConference
Conference number28
LocationBudapest, HungaryShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational