Skip to content

Unpacking screen time, learning and cyber safety


Pin-ball machines, Harry Potter and screen time. What do they have in common?

The answer – all have been the source of what academics term “moral panic”.

This week at the University of Tasmania a panel of experts will discuss how as a society we can and should respond to the amount of time children spend staring at a digital device.

The discussion, called Will you get off that thing!! Screen-time, learning and cyber safety, is being presented for Social Sciences Week in partnership with The Australian Sociological Association.

A high school principal, a teenage student, a law enforcer and two researchers will discuss how screen time might be impacting on children’s learning and development.

Dr Nicholas Hookway, Senior Lecturer of Sociology at the University of Tasmania and a panellist at the event, said a range of perspectives was important for this discussion.

Dr Hookway will talk about the importance of context when weighing up the right amount of time on a screen.

“I will be looking at the notion of whether time is actually the best measure,” he said.

“The discussion about appropriate screen time needs to be more contextual, about quality, not quantity. A child might be online for two hours speaking to a grandparent, or playing a game with a cousin. If this is how the online time is being spent, why do we privilege offline time as superior?”

The audience will also hear the perspectives of:

  • Dr Libby Robinson, Principal, Kingston High School
  • Amelie Hudspeth, Student Representative, Kingston High School
  • Detective Sergeant Aaron Hardcastle, Australian Federal Police
  • Dr Angela Thomas, Senior Lecturer of Education, University of Tasmania

Dr Hookway said that in addition to the important topic, the public lecture was an opportunity to celebrate research in social science and to acknowledge the role of the social sciences in shaping Australian society.

The talk will be held tomorrow, Thursday 12 September, 6pm to 7:30pm at the Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, Sandy Bay Campus (Churchill Ave). Register on Eventbrite.

Published on: 11 Sep 2019 11:34am