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In the past five years young children’s access to and usage of the internet has burgeoned, mostly due to the availability of internet-enabled, touch-screen and mobile technologies. While this creates exciting learning opportunities for young children, internet activity in this age-bracket raises several issues of practical, research and pedagogical concern. Two of the most pertinent concerns outlined in the literature -conceptions of cyber-safety and digital literacies -are focused on in this chapter. We suggest that an understanding of young children’s thinking about the internet – their “internet cognition” – is a necessary precursor to learning about internet safety and digital literacies. Without such knowledge it is problematic to expect teachers to know how and what to teach in relation to both cyber-safety and digital literacies. The chapter concludes by proposing a research and pedagogical agenda for early childhood education in an effort to establish a knowledge base for the field regarding young children’s “internet cognition”.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Book Chapter

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