Impact of digital technology on young children to be investigated in new $67m facility
The centre will be named the ARC Centre for Excellence for the Digital Child and will be funded by a $34.9 million commitment from the Federal Government, and a further $32.2 million in cash and in kind support from a range of national and international academic and industry organisations.
Commenting on the new centre Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan said “Our children are growing up with unprecedented access to technology and we need to better understand the effect it is having on them.”
The centre will be led by Professor Susan Danby from the Faculty of Education’s School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education and amongst other things will undertake a family cohort study, run children’s technology laboratories and lead research programs to improve the knowledge base surrounding the effects of digital technology on children, with a view to delivering clear messages on the role of digital technology in young children’s lives.
“Through the centre, Australia will be better able to respond to national issues and problems related to young children and digital technology, including amount of screen time use, social media and digital gaming, and online safety, and develop a better understanding of how children live in a digital world,” Professor Danby said.
Research focuses will be transdisciplinary in nature with experts from education, health and digital and social connectedness collaborating and seek to produce policy recommendations and guidelines, drive public debate around the realities of a child’s life in the digital world, create practical guidelines for families and inform technology innovation for young children.
“This will involve improving curriculum and learning materials for educators so they can better enable students’ digital learning as well as designing innovations to ensure children are learning in safe digital environments.” Professor Danby noted.
ARC Centre for Excellence for the Digital Child will join the University of Wollongong’s Early Start programme as a world first, Australian led initiative that champions a transdisciplinary approach that focuses on aspects of young children’s development and wellbeing.
For more information about the initiative, please see here.