Technology Children & Families 2016


Technology Children and Families - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

New technologies are delivering capabilities that are changing the way children and families learn, interact and develop. Some suggest they are even changing the way our brains are being wired. Some incredible educational applications have been developed that can add much to conventional learning methods.From an early age some children are also being groomed into gambling, early sexualisation and substance abuse etc. We had a conversation about what we can do to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families growing up in a digital world.

Symposium Videos here (YouTube link)

Speaker bios

Dr Kate Highfield (biographical details) Broadly Kate researches the impact of technology as a tool in learning and play, with young children, undergraduate students, parents and educators. Under this broad umbrella Kate has worked with teachers in rural and remote settings, parents and children. Kate's current research explores young children's learning and play with technology, with a focus on touch technologies, including mobile devices, tablets, iPads and smartphones. This work examines digital play, in both home and educational settings, and focuses on the impact of interactive multi-media on learning and play.

Senator Nick Xenophon (website) Nick first became involved in politics in the 1997 South Australian election, where he campaigned on a ‘No Pokies’ platform. Over the next eight years, Nick worked to fight the spread of poker machines. He also campaigned on issues where individuals and communities weren’t getting a fair go. He was re-elected to the State’s Upper House in 2006 with just over 20.5 percent of the state’s vote. Nick made the decision to leave state politics and run in the November 2007 Federal Election because he believes that he can do more for South Australians in the Senate on key issues such as gambling regulation and water. He is the first Independent to be elected to the Senate in a generation. Since assuming his role in the Senate in July 2008, Nick has continued to push for changes in the key areas including gambling reform and consumer law.

Dr Lesley-Anne Ey (biographical details) I teach in Child Development, Educational Psychology and Child Protection in the Bachelor and Master of Teaching program. Before undertaking my PhD I taught in Preschool and Primary across a variety of government and independent schools. My PhD study focused on young children’s engagement with music media and their gender role and self-identity development. My research revolves around the impacts of media on children’s healthy development, bullying, children's problematic sexual behaviours, and child protection issues with the aim to support teachers and inform curriculum.

Michael White (biographical details) Michael White is the Executive Officer of the South Australian Alcohol and Other Drug Services Network (SANDAS). Previously he was Senior Project Manager Workforce Development at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction and has had more than 20 years of experience in the community services sector. Michael's roles have included: Workforce Development Leader, Australian Centre for Child Protection; Executive Director of Victoria’s Community Services and Health Industry Training Board; and, Learning and Development Director at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare in Victoria.

Ben Riley (biographical details) Ben is a senior cognitive behavioural therapist with the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service. His research interests include the impact of gambling related digital media on young children.

Children Communities Connections Previous Conferences

Quality Play & Media 2104

In the early years children learn mostly by exploring their world through play. Quality Play and Media 2014 partnered with the Australian Council on Children and the Media to bring together experts involved in researching using technology in quality play. We looked at what we need to know about electronic media influences on children's development, how we can use it to enhance learning and how we can avoid pitfalls associated with it's use. An eBook with helpful tips for educators,parents and caregivers was developed from this conference is available on Kindle, Google Play and iTunes.

Children Communities Connections 2008

The Children Communities Connections 2008 Conference brought together practitioners, researchers, policy makers and consumers to engage with issues around the establishment of place-based integrated early childhood services including ´one stop shop´ parent and child centres.

It featured a team from Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families who have become well known internationally for their pioneering work in Corby Northhamptonshire under the leadership of Dr Margy Whalley.

Policy makers included senior representatives from the Departments of Family Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Education and Children´s Services, Child Youth & Women´s Health Services, the University of South Australia, Families SA, the City of Salisbury and the Salvation Army. The conference was convened by Salisbury Communities for Children and planned by key early childhood stakeholder representatives.

Children Communities Connections 2010

This conference built on developments from the 2008 conference with a strong focus on prevention, early intervention and child protection. Key sectors and agencies engaged in supporting vulnerable children and their families participated in the conference including state education, health, families and communities departments and NGO's as well as the Australian Centre for Child Protection.

One of the guiding principles of the Family Support Program that was a focus of this conference was "place based, community development approaches:local provision, driven by local needs, with flexible and responsive services working together to provide the complete range of services needed – thereby building more connected, resilient communities." This can take the form of co-location of a number of services in a local accessible position as is being developed in a number of Communities for Children sites and Department of Education and Children's Services Children's Centres in SA or it can take the form of more integrated non co-located services in a defined area such as is happening in other Communities for Children sites.

Children Communities Connections 2012

Children Communities Connections 2012 continued to develop aspects of place based integrated service delivery, the evidence base for it and some of the challenges involved in it's implementation. It's focus included work on using whole of government, family and community approaches to supporting famlies, breaking down barriers to proportionate universality in integrated service delivery, bridging the gap between research and practice, how neuroscience is changing approaches to working with children and families and integrating pracice across substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health.

Conference Powerpoint Presentation Downloads

Copies of some presentations/papers can be downloaded and may be made for the purposes of personal, non-commercial use or for research and study in educational institutions, provided the presentation/paper is used in full, with proper attribution to the author(s). Copyright remains with the author(s) or government agency.


Australian Refugee Association Relationship Australia Save the Children Australia Lutheran Community Care Salvation Army Schools Ministry Group