1 November 2023

Digital Child x ACMI Seminar: How is AI Changing Digital Childhoods?

This last year has seen an explosion of interest in the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Discussions around AI have been wide-reaching and exhaustive – lurching between versions of a world where AI takes our jobs, runs social services, mediates all online interactions and fights our wars – to the more practical mundane problems of whether it helps or hinders children’s writing, teachers’ work and medical diagnosis. It has been impossible to ignore the widespread hype and anxiety about this technology.

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child is extremely interested in how AI technology is being used with, for and by young children. As young children grow up with new kinds of ways of interacting online, they are both a test case and a source of hope for a better future.

This next event in the Digital Child x ACMI seminar series will bring together an international speaker from Estonia – the most digitally advanced nation in the world – with other experts who together will discuss:

  • How do young children and their families understand AI?
  • Where and how is it used in daily life?
  • What do they want from it?
  • What are their concerns about it?
  • And in what ways is it actually impacting on their everyday life – their learning, their health, their safety and their well-being?

Event Convener

Julian Sefton-Green is Professor of New Media Education at Deakin University in Melbourne and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. He has worked in many countries researching young people and family use of digital technology in everyday life. His research is mainly ethnographic, focussing on socially marginalised communities, social inequality and the powerful ways that people demonstrate ingenuity, creativity and resistance often when education systems are stacked against them. Julian is a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics (LSE). He is currently co-leading a study with the University of Utrecht on the reimagining of young people’s understanding of learning; and is also co-directing a study of long-term impacts of out-of-school arts learning on life chances funded by the Wallace Foundation. Julian is extensively published – he has authored, co-authored and edited 18 books, including a recent chapter on how children’s play and learning have evolved in the digital age. Julian is also currently a Visiting Professor at the Playful Learning Centre, University of Helsinki (Finland).


Andra Siibak is a Professor of Media Studies and program director of the Media and Communication doctoral program at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia. She is also Head of the Board of the Center for the Digital Humanities and Information Society in the University of Tartu. Her main field of research has to do with the opportunities and risks surrounding internet use, social media usage practices, datafication of childhood, new media audiences and privacy. She has published more than 90 peer reviewed papers in international journals and edited collections on the topics surrounding young people’s practices online; e.g. self-presentation on social media; teacher/parental/sibling mediation of young people’s internet use; privacy strategies and imagined audiences on social media, touch-screen usage of toddlers, digital literacies, generational differences in media use, etc. Luke Heemsbergen is an Associate Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, Senior Lecturer in Communication at Deakin University and member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. Luke’s research explores how technologies emerge amidst society. This has deep focus on WikiLeaks, 3D printing, Augmented Reality, and more recently widespread use of generative AI. His work at the Digital Child centre is focused on how augmented reality (AR) media socialise, and are socialised by, young children – including when these media are shared between parents and children. Luke hopes to make the bio-spatial surveillance required in AR visible to its users, while recognising that children are growing up understanding media to work via the data their faces and bodies give off. New forms of interaction are desired and expected in emerging media, but consideration of who these media make us is far from resolved. Neil Selwyn is a Professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne – having previously worked in the Institute of Education, London and the Cardiff School of Social Sciences. He has spent the past 30 years researching the integration of digital technology into schools, universities and adult learning. Neil is recognised as a leading international researcher in the area of digital education – with particular expertise in the ‘real-life’ constraints and problems faced when technology-based education is implemented. He is currently working on nationally-funded projects examining the roll-out of educational data and learning analytics, AI technologies, and the changing nature of teachers’ digital work.   For more information regarding this event, please contact Loretta Watson at loretta.watson@deakin.edu.au Please note that we can provide a Certificate of Attendance for any attendee who would like this seminar to count towards their professional development. You can note this in your registration or contact us after the event.