Developing Social Media Literacies in Pre-Teens

Data Smart: Developing Personal Data Literacies in Pre-Teens  is  a research project funded by the National Agency for Research and Innovation (ANII) and Fundación Ceibal. Working with children (aged 8-12 years) in Uruguay and Australia, the  aim of the program is to develop understanding of personal data so they can better manage and protect their privacy online. 

The children used an educational social media application (‘app’), FriendSend, for a period of three weeks and participated in a series of workshops designed to build these young users’ knowledge of the technical features of social media platforms and how personal data are produced and processed as a consequence of use. The Data Smart Kids program was developed in collaboration with students and teachers at participating schools through an iterative design process. We worked with Uruguayan and Australian preteens, with the aim of carrying out a study with comparative aspects, exploring how preteens students understand and relate to social networks and the way in which their personal data is produced and processed during their use.

The aims of the Data Smart Kids program are to:

  • Build better understanding of how digital identities are constructed through use of social media, as well as improving participant’s knowledge of the technical and social issues associated with online privacy.

  • Provide rich insights into the social media practices and understandings of pre-teens in Uruguay and Australia.

  • Raise awareness of data privacy and the protection of children's digital rights to school authorities and the broader educational community.

  • Develop a set of Spanish and English language open educational resources, including the app, which can be used by teachers and families to improve social media literacies in young people.

Participating Institutions

The institutions that participated in this project were Universidad ORT Uruguay (Institute of Education), and Deakin University (Research for Educational Impact, REDI).

Research Team

Lourdes Cardozo Gaibisso

María Azpiroz

Luci Pangrazio


Catherine Beavis


Neil Selwyn

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