Exploring young children's web searching and technoliteracy

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Exploring young children's web searching and technoliteracy

  • Information Literacy
  • Behaviour
  • 200102 Communication Technology And Digital Media Studies
  • 200100 Communication And Media Studies
  • Worldwide Web
  • Information Searches
  • Children (Age Groups)


Purpose – This paper aims to report findings from an exploratory study investigating the web interactions and technoliteracy of children in the early childhood years. Previous research has studied aspects of older children’s technoliteracy and web searching; however, few studies have analyzed web search data from children younger than six years of age. Design/methodology/approach – The study explored the Google web searching and technoliteracy of young children who are enrolled in a “preparatory classroom” or kindergarten (the year before young children begin compulsory schooling in Queensland, Australia). Young children were video- and audio-taped while conducting Google web searches in the classroom. The data were qualitatively analysed to understand the young children’s web search behaviour. Findings – The findings show that young children engage in complex web searches, including keyword searching and browsing, query formulation and reformulation, relevance judgments, successive searches, information multitasking and collaborative behaviours. The study results provide significant initial insights into young children’s web searching and technoliteracy. Practical implications – The use of web search engines by young children is an important research area with implications for educators and web technologies developers. Originality/value – This is the first study of young children’s interaction with a web search engine.

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