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Comunicar Journal 57: Artivism: Art and Social Engagement in a Digital World (Vol. 26 - 2018)

Towards understanding young children’s digital lives in China and Australia


This article develops insights and generates new lines of inquiry into young children’s digital lives in China and Australia. It brings to dialogue findings from a national study of young children's digital media use in urban settings in China with findings from studies in Australia. This is not presented as a direct comparison, but rather as an opportunity to shed light on children’s digital lives in two countries and to account for the impact of context in relatively different social and cultural circumstances. The article outlines findings from a study of 1,171 preschool-aged children (3 to 7-year-olds) in six provinces in China, including the frequency of their use of television, early education digital devices, computers, tablet computers and smartphones, music players, e-readers and games consoles. It also focuses on various activities such as watching cartoons, using educational apps, playing games and participating in video chat. Methods included a multistage sampling process, random selection of kindergartens, a weighted sampling process, the generation of descriptive data and the use of linear regression analysis, and a chi-square test. The study demonstrates the significance of a range of factors that influence the amount of time spent with digital media. The contrast with Australian studies produces new insights and generates new research questions.