2021
Annual
Report

About the Digital Child

Our vision
Australian children, healthy, educated, connected

Who we are

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.

The Centre is a collective of researchers from Australian universities, administered by QUT in collaboration with Curtin University, Deakin University, Edith Cowan University, The University of Queensland and University of Wollongong. We draw expertise from our international researchers from 14 universities around the world.

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


Our members (as at 31 December 2021)

  • 23

    Chief Investigators

  • 37

    Associate Investigators

  • 11

    Research Fellows

  • 15

    HDR students

  • 11

    Professional staff


What we do

We provide evidence-based transdisciplinary research related to children and digital technologies that leads to positive outcomes for children. We do this by translating research into practical applications, such as guidelines, resources, and curriculum and pedagogic practices. 

We aim to enhance public understanding, inform policymakers and provide guidance for families, educators and those working with children, and technology creators, to support children to be confident growing up in a rapidly changing digital world. 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 the effects on the Healthy, Educated and Connected lives of young children.

Why we’re doing it

Children are growing, learning and connecting with digital technology that is rapidly evolving and changing. Yet little is known about young children’s use of digital technologies and the positive impacts or potential risks and harms.

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 program of research helps address 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; technology creators; and community and business organisations.

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


Our strategic objectives

  • lead a comprehensive research program globally in children’s use of digital technology
  • translate our research findings to create more united understandings across disciplines, governments, communities, and families
  • be recognised and valued by the Australian community as a respected and trusted voice regarding children’s use of digital technology because of the evidence-knowledge we communicate
  • inspire, equip and mentor the next generation of researchers to examine the impact of current and emerging digital technologies on the lives of children
  • to create and nurture a true transdisciplinary research culture that respects difference and values diverse research-informed views

Read our Strategic Plan 2021 – 2027

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