Digital Environments and Developing Minds Conference October 28 2019

This conference will give educators and other children’s professionals, as well as media producers and policy makers, direct access to researchers and experts in children’s healthy development as media users.

There will also be stimulating reflections by two Australians of the Year, Richard Harris and Suzanne Packer, all woven together by Kim Le, child psychiatrist and standup comedian, as compere.

Two overseas keynotes will be Dr Angharad Rudkin (UK) and Irwin Reyes (USA). Rudkin, a psychologist, is a co-author of Digital Childhood (Kidron & Rudkin, 2017), an important report that lays bare the implications of digital technologies for children’s chances of meeting their developmental milestones, and her talk to the conference will develop this theme. Reyes, from the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California at Berkeley, will discuss work uncovering potential privacy issues prevalent in large numbers of children’s apps, and in a complex third-party ecosystem (Wijesekera et al, 2018).

Other speakers will be researchers and professionals from a range of disciplines including education, psychology, nutrition, paediatrics and physiotherapy. They will address the main areas of development, that is, physical, cognitive and socio-emotional, covering such matters as posture, obesity, sleep, eyesight, attention, language and engagement.

Socio-emotional development will be addressed in a third keynote, to be delivered by Dr Lisa Mundy, Project Manager of the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She will discuss findings from this unique longitudinal study of over 1200 Victorian children in the middle years of school, which began in 2012, and aims to improve understanding of emotional development in late childhood.

There will also be papers addressing broader policy issues that can have a profound impact on families, children and the people who deal with them, for example gambling promotion, which is a significant concern to Australian families, especially when it occurs in connection with sport. Another session addresses the vexed question of how to advise and engage parents and carers regarding their children’s use of technology in a complex environment, and whether as a community we provide enough support for parents in managing children’s media use.

All sessions have allowed time for questions, so that there can be a two-way discussion and delegates will be able to get information and feedback specific to the opportunities and challenges they face in their context.

The Conference is the first collaboration between ACEL and the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM), and builds on a shared recognition of how important each organisation’s work is to the other.

Further information about the conference is available at:

Conference Australian Council on Children and the Media

Sydney Masonic Centre, Goulburn St, Sydney NSW