Screens and the Early Years - Raising Children in the Digital Age


Date and Time

Tuesday 20 February 2018 06:30PM

Events Details

Doors Open: 6.30pm
Start: 7.00pm

: $5 - includes refreshments.

Screen time, by definition, is the amount of time spent using a device such as a tablet, computer, television, or games console. Growing up in digital world, children today are often curious, confident and capable users of technology, immersed in screen time more than ever before.

But what impact does screen time have on the physical and mental development of children? What can we as parents, carers and educators do to support those aged 0-8 to use technology in a healthy way? And can we use today’s technology to assist children to develop and learn?

These questions and more will be explored at the Zig Zag Early Years Partnership’s Screens & the Early Years event, presented by Professor Donna Cross from the Telethon Kids Institute and Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University.

Both presenters will share the latest research findings on screen time and the early years, equipping parents, carers and educators with the knowledge and tools to create opportunities for children to use technology in way that supports their growth and ability to learn.

Professor Leon Straker has been researching the physical impact of technology use by children since the late 1990s, looking at electronic gaming and computer use in primary school children and more recently mobile touch-screen device use by 3-4 year olds.

Professor Donna Cross recently completed a Churchill Scholarship in the US where she investigated how technology is affecting the way children develop and learn. At this event Professor Cross will discuss her findings, revealing the one big no no in relation to early learning and the introduction of technology, and the importance of play as a foundation for learning.

This event will include a question and answer session, and the opportunity to network with other attendees over free tea, coffee and refreshments at the conclusion of the talk.

The Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre will open at 6:30pm, with the presentation commencing at 7pm.

This event is proudly presented by the Zig Zag Early Years Partnership, the City of Kalamunda’s Early Years Network, and is supported by Professor Cross and Professor Straker.

About the presenters:

Professor Donna Cross

Head, Health Promotion and Education Research Director, Early Childhood Development and Learning Collaboration (CoLab) | EdD GradDip BEd Dip Teaching

Areas of research expertise: Child and adolescent mental health; translational research; bullying and cyberbullying prevention; health promotion; school-based interventions

Donna Cross is a Professor with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute. She is also the Vice Chancellor’s Adjunct Professor at Edith Cowan University and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University.

Donna and her research team conduct highly applied school and family-based health promotion research in Australia and internationally. Over the last 30 years she has conducted applied intervention research that aimed to improve children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing by reducing bullying, negative online behaviours, road injuries and drug use behaviours.

Her contribution to children’s health promotion research translation has been recognised with numerous awards. In 2012 alone, Donna received the Future Justice Prize and was named a Western Australian Ambassador for Children and Young People, and the WA Australian of the Year. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

Professor Leon Straker

Raine Foundation Scientific Director | The Raine Study | John Curtin Distinguished Professor

Leon is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor in the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science at Curtin University. He has degrees in physiotherapy, ergonomics and occupational health and has published over 230 scientific journal papers.

Leon began his clinical work at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. He started research on the physical impact of information and communication technology use by children in the late 1990s – looking at desktop and laptop computer use in high school students. Since then he has followed the technology to younger children, looking at electronic gaming and computer use in primary school children and more recently mobile touch-screen device use by 3-4 year olds.

Leon is co-chair of Early Childhood Australia’s Digital Policy Group, which is preparing a Statement on Young Children and Technology for the sector. He also serves on the executive committees of the Australian Council for Children and the Media and Active Healthy Kids Australia.

About the Zig Zag Early Years Partnership:

The Zig Zag Early Years Partnership (ZZEYP) is a group of parents, professionals and community members committed to improving outcomes for children aged zero to eight in the City of Kalamunda. To join the ZZEYP network, or for more information, please feel free to contact the Youth Officer at the City of Kalamunda on 9257 9968, or email

Related Links


For more information contact Youth Services - City of Kalamunda 9257 9968


48 Canning Road
Kalamunda WA
Post code 6076

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