Digital Child Ethics Toolkit: Ethical Considerations for Digital Childhoods Research

A Digital Child Working Paper from our Methods and Methodologies series

To support researchers working in this area, this toolkit outlines ethical considerations across three main dimensions of research: contexts (such as researching in the home, health settings, or early learning centres); methods (such as ethnographic approaches, web-scraping, or using wearable devices); and cohorts (such as infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, or educators).

There is a growing body of scholarship that examines how very young children and their families relate to, adopt, and engage with digital technologies. This research typically involves a range of ethical considerations. Yet, as an emerging field, it can be difficult for researchers and ethics committees to find standards of practice or evaluate risks and benefits.

To support researchers working in this area, this toolkit outlines ethical considerations across three main dimensions of research: contexts (such as researching in the home, health settings, or early learning centres); methods (such as ethnographic approaches, web-scraping, or using wearable devices); and cohorts (such as infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, or educators).

The first half of the toolkit is a discussion paper that addresses each of these contexts in turn, as well as discussing some foundational principles and issues, such as informed consent and positioning children as co-researchers. The second half is an appendix containing references and resources for each of the contexts, methods, and cohorts that have been addressed. It also lists international guidelines and frameworks, Australian guidelines and frameworks, and general resources on ethical research with young children.

This iteration of the toolkit is being published as a working paper through the Centre’s working papers series. It is part of the ‘methods and methodologies’ subseries and has been checked by the sub-series editorial team to ensure it meets basic standards around clarity of expression and acceptable and inclusive language and content. More information on the working paper series can be found here.

The toolkit is also be available as an interactive webpage on the Centre’s website.

The toolkit is designed to be a living document with new iterations released periodically. If you have recommendations for clarifications, topics to cover, or resources to include, please contact Chris Zomer at c.zomer@deakin.edu.au.

Volume/Number: 2024-01

Date published: 

Series type: Methods and Methodologies  

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26187/k90v-9a20

Suggested citation: ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. (2024). Digital child ethics toolkit: Ethical considerations for Digital Childhoods Research. (Digital Child Working Paper 2024-01). https://www.digitalchild.org.au/research/publications/working-papers/ethics-toolkit/

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