The impact of media and technology on the lives of babies and young children

Advances in technology have led to changes in young children’s experiences. Many children have access to a range of digital devices from a very young age – playing games or taking pictures for example. As an early years practitioner it is important to recognise that children live in a digital world. Our job therefore is to both ensure they are safe within that world and that it is a world which provides children with opportunities to collaborate, to extend their understandings and to explore. The following recommended readings may help you to deepen your understanding of this role whilst also providing some practical ideas of how to translate research and theory in this field in to practice.

Theory and Research

Anderson, D.R., & Evans, M.K. (2001) ‘Perils and potential of media for toddlers’, Zero To Three, 22(2), pp. 10-16.

Aubrey, C., and Dahl S. (2008) A Review of the Evidence on the use of ICT in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Becta: Coventry. Available at:

Blanchard, J. and Moore, T. (2010) The Digital World of Young Children: Impact on Emergent Literacy

Available at:

DeLoache, J.S. & Chiong, C. (2009) "Babies and Baby Media", American Behavioral Scientist, 52 (8) pp. 1115-1135.

Downes, T., Arthur, L. and Beecher, B. (2001) “Effective Learning Environments for Young Children Using Digital Recourses: An Australian Perspective.” Information Technology in Childhood Education 1: pp. 129–143.

Hayes, M., & Whitebread, D. (Eds.) (2006). ICT in the early years. Buckingham, England: Open University Press.

Johnson, J., & Christie, J. (2009) ‘Play and digital media’, Computers in the Schools, 26(4), pp 284-289.

Marsh, J., Brooks, G., Hughes, J., L. Ritchie, Roberts, S., & Wright, K. (2005). Digital beginnings: Young children’s use of popular culture, media and new technologies. University of Sheffield: Literacy Research Centre.

Troseth, G. L. (2003) ‘TV guide: 2-year-olds learn to use video as a source of information’, Developmental Psychology, 39, pp. 140-150.

Troseth, G. L., & DeLoache, J. S. (1998). The medium can obscure the message: Young children’s understanding of video. Child Development, 69, pp. 950-965.

 Waller, T. (2010) 'Digital play in the classroom: A twenty-first century pedagogy?' In, S. Rogers (ed) Rethinking Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education: Concepts, Contexts and Cultures. Abingdon: Routledge Falmer.

For ideas for practice try:

Donohue, C. (ed) Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, London: Routledge and NAEYC.

Druin, A. (Ed.) (2009). Mobile technology for children, Amsterdam: Elsevier

O'Hara, M. (2004) ICT in the Early Years, London: Continuum.

Also see: forlinks to activities to use in your setting

For a well-balanced blend of theory and application see:

Siraj-Blatchford, J. And Morgan, A. (2013) Using ICT in the Early Years: Parents and Practitioners in Partnership,  Practical Preschool Books