In 2021, the group began to study changes in children’s media use caused by the long COVID lockdowns. Our aim was to investigate exactly how increased screen use was affecting children’s lives, including activities such as book reading and play. Since November 2021, we have run two large national surveys of Australian parents, which support that children’s use of electronic tablets and computer games has increased since the lockdowns began, library visits play less of a role in family life than before the pandemic, apps are more important for families’ access to media content, and media devices are more likely to be found in children’s bedrooms since COVID lockdowns. This research was supported by grant funding in 2021 and 2022 from the School of Culture and Communication.

In 2022, the group published its first article from its surveys: Nolan, S., Day, K., Shin, W., Wang, W., ‘Books Versus Screens: A Study of Australian Children’s Media Use During the COVID Pandemic’. Publishing Research Quarterly (2022), 38: 749–759.

Members have also given conference presentations at the following conferences: the Independent Publishing Conference, Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, December 2021; the Australian and New Zealand Communications Association Conference, University of Wollongong, NSW, November 2022; the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, SHARP 2023, University of Otago, NZ, June 2023.

In 2022, Assoc. Prof. Wonsun Shin received seed funding from the Faculty of Arts to pilot qualitative research towards an ARC Linkage grant application. This pilot has now been completed and is at write-up.

In related research by group members, Dr Katherine Day is currently investigating the plight of children’s picture books in an increasingly electronic children’s mediacape. Dr Wilfred Wang is currently leading a project that adopts research knowledge into actionable responses to the issue of digital exclusion faced by many older Asian migrants in Australia during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.