What Younger Children Really Think and Understand about Internet Safety: The Value of Stories and Role Play as Research Methods

Watson, L. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Description

This early career research paper has its origins in a wider study on younger children’s perceptions of internet safety and how the child’s voice can be included to potentially help inform current policy and practice surrounding child internet safety. The paper starts with acknowledging research paucity surrounding younger children’s understanding of digital environments (Holloway, Green & Livingstone, 2013), proposing that this paucity of research may reflect assumed difficulties in research involving younger children (Olfasson, Livingstone, & Haddon, 2013). The paper goes on to identify that research with children is desirable to research on children and that giving children a voice enables them to become active participants, causing a cultural shift where children are the subjects involved within the research as opposed to the objects (Pinter, Kuchah & Smith, 2013). Research aimed at empowering children’s digital engagement often lacks the experiences and perspective of children (Chaudron, 2015). To ensure that younger children are not passive participants, this paper will propose and discuss two creative and innovative research methods to ensure the child’s voice is heard within the research environment. The research environment will be two primary schools within the same local authority within West Yorkshire. The first method will include engaging with age appropriate story books regarding child internet safety, which will be used to gather the young children’s perceptions of internet safety, risk, trust and danger. Next, to encourage a more child-centred, holistic approach to data collection, a role play area based on the stories will be created to further consider younger children’s perceptions of internet safety and assist in determining any potential influences from adopting creative and innovative research methodologies with children. The paper will acknowledge the different viewpoints on research with young children, including relevance, reliability, validity and ethics, making links with the methodological approaches to capitalise on children’s social interaction to encourage the collection of reliable and valid data (Pinter et al., 2013). This paper thus seeks to examine how, encouragement of the child’s voice potentially identifies the differences in adults and children’s perspectives, providing insights into how best to support child internet safety (Morgan, Gibbs, Maxwell & Britten, 2002).
Period5 Sep 2017
Held atBritish Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2017
Event typeConference
LocationBrighton, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational