The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child

The challenge

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 up learning and connecting with digital technology, but there needs to be more research and understanding about the positive outcomes of this – along with the risks. Australians want to know how technology can help their children learn, how to recognise good digital engagement from bad, how much technology is safe for their children and how to keep their children safe online.

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child is working to deliver and disseminate evidence-based research that will help parents and teachers keep Australian children healthy, educated and connected in a digital world.

Project overview

Deakin is the only Victorian university that is part of the Centre which is headquartered at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and includes researchers from Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, The University of Queensland and University of Wollongong.

The Centre’s 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 the Centre’s research program is its Longitudinal Family Study – a seven-year study of 3000 Australian families, focusing on children from birth to eight years of age. The study is designed to provide the big picture – to identify potential problems and unmet possibilities associated with digital technologies in early childhood. A range of connected cross-disciplinary projects will provide evidence in three key areas:

Healthy Child: balancing the health risks of digital technologies against access to knowledge and social interactions that provide opportunity for positive physical, social and emotional wellbeing.

Educated Child: harnessing digital technologies to optimise learning and access to knowledge through active interactions and development of engaging and thought-provoking technologies.

Connected Child: balancing access to social and knowledge connections in the digital world against risks of surveillance, infringements of privacy and child rights.

The Deakin node of the Centre, based at REDI, will be involved in projects across all three program areas, including looking at children’s technology use at home, learning in diverse settings, data analytics and children’s digital rights, equity of use and access, impacts on family life, the internet of things, and commercialisation and the digital child.


  • Recommendations for policy-makers and curriculum development to enable child-directed digital learning, participation and enjoyment
  • Guidelines and resources for parents, educators and communities about safe and effective digital practices
  • Technological innovations that support children’s digital engagement
  • Professional development programs for those working with children
  • Build research capacity with high quality graduates and early career researchers.

Working papers

Seeding transdisciplinary culture: Lessons from the Digital Child Centre transdisciplinary workshops
Authors: Romaine Logere, Kate Mannell, John Davis, Pauline Roberts, Philippa Amery, Sue
Bennett, Natalie Day, Lisa Kervin, Giovanna Mascheroni, Janelle MacKenzie, Julian
Sefton-Green, Leon Straker

Manifesto for a Better Children’s Internet
Authors: Julian Sefton-Green, Luci Pangrazio, Rys Farthing, Kate Mannell, Andy (Xinyu) Zhao, et al.

A Research Agenda to Examine the Political Economy of Digital Childhood
Authors: Julian Sefton-Green, Michael Dezuanni, Luci Pangrazio

Mapping Data Flows in the Home: A Scoping Review
Author: Dr Luci Pangrazio

Project team

Professor Julian Sefton-Green, Chief Investigator
Dr Luci Pangrazio, Chief Investigator
Professor Louise Paatsch, Chief Investigator
Dr Maria Nicholas, Associate Investigator
Dr Sharon Horwood, Associate Investigator
Dr Annamaria Neag, Associate Investigator
Dr Eve Mayes, Associate Investigator
Dr Rys Farthing, Associate Investigator
Dr Jian Xu, Associate Investigator
Dr Luke Heemsbergen, Associate Investigator
Dr Tebeje Molla Mekonnen, Associate Investigator
Dr Leah Williams Veazy, Associate Investigator
Dr Robbie Fordyce, Associate Investigator
Dr Kate Mannell, Research Fellow
Dr Xinyu (Andy) Zhao, Research Fellow
Dr Celine Chu, Research Fellow
Dr John Davis, Senior Research Fellow
Jess Williams, Research Fellow


Marina Torjinski, Centre Student
Dinusha Bandara, Centre Student
Scheherazade Bloul, Research Assistant
Melissa de La Cruz, Centre Student
Chris Zomer, Research Assistant
Katrin Langton, Research Assistant
Jacquelyn Harverson, Centre Student
Loretta Watson, Project Coordinator
Dr Ines Vitorino Sampaio, Associate Investigator and Visiting Scholar


Funded through a $34.9M ARC grant and an additional $32.2M in cash and in-kind contributions from national and international partners.


digital child, digitalisation, early childhood, ARC, Centre of Excellence, digital engagement, digital learning, digital practice, teacher education, innovative learning environments