The 7th Conference of the Children’s Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland took place on the 6th December 2018 at Chartered Accountants House in Dublin. The theme of the Conference was ‘growing up in the digital environment’. Presentation slides are available for download below.

Pictured above (left to right): David Kenefick of the Children’s Research Network, Ruth Geraghty of the Children’s Research Network, Colman Noctor of St Patrick's Mental Health Services and TCD, Cliona Curley of CyberSafeIreland and Alison Montgomery chair of the Children’s Research Network, at the 2018 annual conference of the Children’s Research Network in Chartered Accountants House. 



A1: Technology usage and young children’s development

Chair: Maja Haals Brosnan, Marino Institute of Education

  • The Impact of Screen Viewing Time on 5-Year-Old Children’s School Adjustment after the Pre-School to Primary School Transition in Ireland by E. Tobin, University College Dublin

A2: Parenting in the digital environment

Chair: Tracey Monson, Daughters of Charity Child and Family Services

  • “Giving Our Children the Best Start in Life”: An Online, Qualitative Parent Consultation Survey by G. Hickey, Maynooth University and F. Chance, The Katharine Howard Foundation
  • Connections: Parenting Infants in a Digital World by D. Kernaghan, Barnardo's Northern Ireland

A3: Relational dynamics in Prevention and Early Intervention

Chair: Ruth Geraghty, Children’s Research Network Relational Dynamics

B1: Technology usage and academic performance

Chair: Aoife Price, Union of Students in Ireland

  • ICT Competence and Use, Science Performance, and Future Stem Pathways: Findings from Pisa 2015 by C. McKeown, S. McAteer and L. O'Keeffe, Educational Research Centre

B2: Children and young people’s digital literacy

Chair: Leonor Rodriguez, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUIG

  • Rights of Children with Disabilities and the Digital Environment by M. Templeton, L. Lundy, B. Byrne and G. Lansdown, Queen’s University Belfast
  • A Children’s Rights Framework as a Mechanism to Enhance the Safety and Privacy of Children Online by E. Quinn, Children’s Rights Alliance

B3: The Prevention and Early Intervention Environment

Chair: Ruth Geraghty, Children’s Research Network Does Early

  • Does Early Home Environment Influence Basic Numeracy Skills? The Preparing for Life Study by V. Simms, A. Cahoon, A. McParland, N. Doherty, C. Gilmore, Ulster University

C1: Empowering children and young people as digital citizens

Chair: Derina Johnson, Children’s Research Network & Trinity Research in Childhood Centre

  • Young People’s Perceptions of The Nature of Cyberbullying: A Meta-Ethnography by R. Dennehy, University College Cork; K. Walsh, University College Cork; S. Meaney, University College Cork; C. Sinnott, University College Cork; M. Cronin, University of Cambridge; E. Arensman, University College Cork
  • How Does the Digital World Help Deaf Children to Improve their Communication and Literacy? by Michelle Mitchell, National University of Ireland, Galway

C2: Digital interventions

Chair: Eimear Lacey, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin

  • Moving Well-Being Well: Getting Ireland’s Children Moving by S. Behan, S. Belton, N. O’Connor and J. Issartel, Dublin City University
  • A Digital Precision Teaching Intervention in The Primary Classroom: Effects on Irish Reading Fluency by L. Mannion and C.P. Griffin, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
  • Exploring Pornography Viewing Patterns among Irish Students and Establishing an Evidence-Base for the Development of Pornography Literacy Interventions for Adolescents by K. Dawson, S. Nic Gabhainn and Pádraig MacNeela, NUI Galway

C3: Prevention and Early Intervention in the Early Years

Chair: Ruth Geraghty, Children’s Research Network

  • Investigating Associations between Maternal Well-Being and Infant Dietary Intake, in a Low-Income Setting by S. Buggy, K. O'Neill, P. Kearney & K. Matvienko-Sikar, University College Cork
  • How Can We Compare? Analysing the Comparability of Evaluative Data from the Tallaght West Child Development Initiative with a UK Dataset by N. Hayes & J. Irwin, Trinity College Dublin

C4: Practical workshop on preparing your research data for the archives

  • Facilitated by Aileen O’Carroll, Policy Manager at the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) and manager of the Irish Qualitative Data Archive (IQDA) *Special

Network updates


Contemporary children and young adults are distinct from their predecessors as they are the first generation to grow up ‘entirely digital’ where their daily environment is continuously shaped by technology. Their participation in the digital age is an emergent area for policy making, as evidence by the recent establishment of National Advisory Council on Online Safety, the digital age of consent debate, and the introduction of stronger legislation on digital privacy (GDPR) in 2018. Growing up in the digital age provides a diverse range of opportunities and risks for children and young people across many areas of their lives.

The aim of our conference is to promote high quality research, practice and policy making that employs good practices of involving children and young people.

To achieve this aim, nine parallel sessions were held on a range of topics including:

  • young children's technology usage and their development;
  • parenting in the digital environment;
  • children and young people's technology usage and academic performance;
  • children and young people’s digital literacy;
  • empowering children and young people as digital citizens; and
  • digital interventions.

The conference included a strand presenting the results from the secondary analysis of the data that has been archived by the Network's Prevention and Early Intervention Research Initiative project (PEI-RI, 2016-18), which concludes at the Network in December 2018. These findings are also reported in the Children's Research Digest, Volume 5, Issue 3. The following parallel sessions on the PEI-RI were held:

  • Relational dynamics in Prevention and Early Intervention;
  • The Prevention and Early Intervention Environment;
  • Prevention and Early Intervention in the Early Years Setting.

Three keynote presentations were made on the theme of protecting and empowering children and young people in the digital environment. Cliona Curley, programme director of CyberSafeIreland, presented their 2018 survey findings on trends and the risks of Irish children’s online activity. Colman Noctor, psychotherapist at St Patrick's Mental Health Services, discussed the impact of technology on family well-being. Seamus Sands, consultant volunteer at Kainos, presented on their tech outreach programme with young people, and their work with CCEA to develop teacher training programmes in digital skills.

To mark the conclusion of the PEI-RI the conference also hosted a hands on workshop on preparing research data for the archives. This was facilitated by Aileen O'Carroll, Policy Manager at the Digital Repository of Ireland and manager of the Irish Qualitative Data Archive.