A research group led by Professor Lelia Green at Edith Cowan University, is using ARC Discovery Projects scheme funding to explore the risks and benefits of young children’s internet use, and investigate how the ‘internet of toys’ is tracking and downloading data about our children.

Internet-connected toys are increasing the value of children’s data captured by businesses. The array of sensors built into many toys now means children’s voices, movement, locations and even heartbeats are being recorded, which is raising concerns about privacy and data security.

The research group includes Dr Donell Holloway, an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award recipient, who has worked with global research leaders from the United Kingdom, Belgium and Italy.

In 2017 the research group hosted the Digitising Early Childhood International Conference to explore and find answers that plug the knowledge gap in this rapidly evolving area, and address a serious lack of evidence-based advice for parents in the 0–5 age group.

The team’s research expertise has contributed to the Raising Children Network, an Australian parenting website that is supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services and the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

Image: Edith Cowan University researcher and grandmother Dr Donell Holloway.
Image credit: Edith Cowan University.