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The Digital Child

Pexel image: credit Cottonbro

Experiences of childhood have radically changed the era of networked communication and social media. A young person’s online traces often appear before they are even born, with the sharing of ultrasound photos now a common ritual for expecting parents. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the shift to digital platforms for everything from education and entertainment to communication and creativity. These shifts bring unprecedented opportunities for children but also entail new risks and challenges.

The Digital Child program examines the way childhood has changed in the digital era, exploring the new opportunities that come with new technologies, while also mapping the new risks in a world where algorithms and automation deeply impact young people’s lives. Program leader, Tama Leaver is a chief investigator in the multi-university Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child and part of the Centre’s Curtin Node. This new arena is starting to be mapped in a special issue of the M/C Journal on Beginnings co-edited by Tama Leaver and Bjorn Nansen; the Infancy Online special issue of Social Media + Society, also co-edited by Tama Leaver and Bjorn Nansen; and the 2021 Routledge Handbook of Children and the Media which Tama Leaver co-edited.


Program Leader

Professor Tama Leaver, Professor of Internet Studies


Professor Michele Willson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Humanities

A/Professor Crystal Abidin, Associate Professor, MCASI

ARC Grants

Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, CE200100022, ARC Centres of Excellence 2020 (-2027), $34,934,591. Tama Leaver is a Chief Investigator.

ARC LIEF – Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities LE140100148. TrISMA – Tracking Infrastructure for Social Media Analysis. $460,000 (2014-2016). Tama Leaver was a Chief Investigator.


The Australian Research Council, Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child.
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