About the Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child

Helping young children grow up healthy, educated and connected in a rapidly changing digital world.

Our Centre

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child is the world’s first research centre dedicated to creating positive digital childhoods for all Australian children.

Children are growing, learning and connecting with digital technology that’s rapidly evolving and changing. Australians are asking: How can technology help my child learn? How do I know good digital engagement from bad? How much technology is safe for my child? How do I keep my child safe online?

Our vision is to ensure young children grow up healthy, connected, and educated in a rapidly changing digital world.

Our program of research will help answer these questions for all Australians who look out for the health, education and happiness of young children, including parents and caregivers; teachers and educators; government and policy makers; and community and business organisations.

We are funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council, in addition to monetary and in-kind contributions from our partners.

Our research

Our research innovates and intersects across fields of health, education and technology to offer a holistic view of young children and their digital experiences.

The heart of our research program is our Longitudinal Family Cohort Study – a seven-year study of 3000 Australian families, focussing on children from birth to eight years of age. The study is designed to provide us with the big picture; and to identify potential problems and unmet possibilities associated with digital technologies in early childhood. We’ll document and track digital engagement in the early years of life and their effects on the Healthy, Educated and Connected lives of young children.

A range of cross-disciplinary projects, all connected, will provide evidence to address three key matters for digital children and inform three key areas of impact:

Healthy ChildEducated ChildConnected Child
How do we balance the health risks of digital technologies against access to knowledge and social interactions that provide opportunity for positive physical, social and emotional wellbeing? Learn more.How do we harness digital technologies to optimise learning and access to knowledge through active interactions and development of engaging and thought-provoking technologies? Learn more. How do we balance access to social and knowledge connections in the digital world against risks of surveillance, infringements of privacy and child rights? Learn more.
Technology innovationPolicy developmentEducation practice
Provide evidence-based research findings and practices to optimise children’s uses of digital technology.Deliver research outcomes to inform policy stakeholders about children’s digital experiences.Inform curriculum and pedagogy to enable digital learning, participation and enjoyment.

Our purpose-built Children’s Technology Spaces located at QUT and the University of Wollongong will be the hub of our research activity. These dedicated technology spaces are physical sites where children, researchers, parents and carers, and professionals working with children can collaborate, play, experiment and learn.

Our partners

The Centre is a collective of national and international partners across education, government, business and the community, all working together to achieve the Centre’s vision.

We’re collaborating with a cohort of researchers from Australian universities, led by QUT and including Curtin University, Deakin University, Edith Cowan University, The University of Queensland and University of Wollongong.

Our partnerships with government agencies, technology developers, education sectors, policy makers and community groups will help us incorporate real-world insights and link our research to a wide range of real-world applications.

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Our people

Our researchers are a collective of national and international scholars with expertise in a range of disciplines, including education, health, developmental science, psychology, sociology, digital technologies and media and communication.

They bring diverse, yet complementary, strengths and an established history of successful partner and stakeholder collaborations, a demonstrable impact on policy and delivery of practical resources and advice. Our researchers will be joined by a team of student and early career researchers with drive and passion to contribute to this important field.

A dynamic team of professional staff work behind the scenes to coordinate and administer the Centre’s operations and activities.

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The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child acknowledges the First Nations owners of the lands on where we gather and pay our respects to the Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits of this country.

The Centre recognises that the examples we set in diversity and inclusion will support young children to respect and celebrate differences in all people. We embed diversity, inclusivity and equality into all aspects of the Centre’s activities and welcome all people regardless of race, ethnicity, social background, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and national origin.