Online addictions are real: What are technology educators doing about it?

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Kerry Lee
Svetlana Kostrykina
Sarah Washbrooke


There are now five technological areas included in the New Zealand technology curriculum, two of which are based on digital technology. Like many other subjects, technology education encourages students to conduct research, consult with experts and design digital products. Increasingly, Generation-Z students use digital resources for learning, collaboration, and research, rather than face-to-face, phone, or letter communications, which are considered anachronistic. There is evidence that this improves the educational experience for most learners, but evidence for the impact on students and teachers who suffer from online and digital addictions is sparse. To ensure safe online practices for children, many countries have developed security guidelines and policies. Most of these efforts are aimed at keeping children safe from predatory interactions, preventing inappropriate content from reaching children, and minimising security breaches such as viruses, phishing, or scams. The strategies vary, but commonly include reducing screen time, implementing web security processes, and providing guidelines for parents and teachers. Generally, this protection focuses on protecting the user from others but not on protecting learners and teachers from themselves – particularly from compulsive online behaviours. With the recent advent of COVID and increased exposure to working, teaching and learning remotely, online and digital addiction issues have been exacerbated. It is now timely to consider options for supporting people suffering from digital addictions and those at risk. This article discusses some current trends and issues related to online and digital addictions and their implications for technology education students and educators

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How to Cite
Lee, K., Kostrykina, S., & Washbrooke, S. (2023). Online addictions are real: What are technology educators doing about it?. Australasian Journal of Technology Education, 9.
Author Biographies

Kerry Lee, University of Auckland

Dr Kerry Lee is a member of the National Council of Technology Education New Zealand (TENZ) and is a senior lecturer and discipline leader for STEM, at the University of Auckland. She has lead roles on many national and international bodies and has published widely in the fields of technology education, supporting indigenous technology education, digital technologies, linking with industry and employers, sustainability, enterprise, and entrepreneurship education. Kerry is also a registered primary school teacher.

Svetlana Kostrykina, University of Auckland

Lana Kostrykina is an early career researcher and Global Studies adviser at the University of Auckland. Lana holds a PhD in Education (UoA, 2020), and a number of international qualifications in Economics, Linguistics and Translation Studies. Her areas of expertise include the global education industry and internationalisation in higher education, the knowledge economy, student engagement, and intercultural communication. Lana is a recipient of several prestigious awards including Valued Contribution to the University of Auckland, 2019, awarded for the successful launch of the Global Studies programme, and a nomination for the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis, 2021. Her current professional and research interests revolve around the pragmatic application of Global Studies in higher education, and the development of transdisciplinary tertiary degrees.

Sarah Washbrooke, University of Waikato

Sarah is a STEM and technology educator with over 25 years teaching experience in both the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Teachers across NZ have been supported through personalised professional learning, webinars, hands-on workshops, and conferences in the areas of STEM and Technology. Sarah also volunteers as deputy chair on Technology Education New Zealand (TENZ) Council and supports a variety of initiatives including MBIE Curious Minds assessor, Samsung NZ Solve for Tomorrow competition and ICE Bridges to schools & sustainability game projects.

Sarah has been nominated for several teaching excellence awards and was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize in 2020. Sarah is Product Development Lead for ByteEd, designing and developing resources for teachers and students in Digital Technologies and is a Teaching Fellow at University of Waikato in Technology Education. Sarah is a Ministry of Education approved professional learning and development facilitator supporting schools with Local Curriculum Design, STEM, Digital Technologies.