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Technology, Children & Families (2016)

Theme: 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.


Speaker bios:

Dr Kate Highfield: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.


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