Safe online together
A research project aimed at promoting intergenerational understanding of digital media use
About the project
Safe online together: an integrated approach to navigating the risks and opportunities of digital media for families and young people
It is not easy for parents to regulate their children’s media use to minimise risk while acknowledging the important role that digital technologies play in young people’s lives. When parents attempt to manage or restrict their children’s technology use it often leads to conflict within the family with mutual cries of ‘you don’t understand!’ Research suggests that there is a disconnect between many of the existing ‘top-down’ online safety educational materials and programs and the lived experiences and knowledge of young people and their parents.
The University of Canberra, in partnership with Community Services #1 and Capital Region Community Services, has been awarded a $118K grant by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to develop a pilot program aimed at promoting intergenerational understanding and knowledge of digital media and technology use, and reducing media-related conflict within families.
The pilot project will consist of a series of school presentations for young people, as well as family workshops. The program will draw on robust evidence, research and a co-design approach to develop training, materials and online resources delivered to families and schools across the Canberra region.
The program aims to change the perception of young people as vulnerable risk takers in the online environment, and instead support them to share their knowledge about managing their online presence with younger peers and families. It will facilitate intergenerational discussion and empower parents and guardians to manage their families’ online behaviours and practices in a mutually constructive and beneficial way.
Who we are
News & Media Research Centre
The News & Media Research Centre, located at the University of Canberra, advances public understanding of our changing media environment. We are a national research hub and work with government, industry and communities to deliver knowledge, outcomes and benefits for all stakeholders.
Ms Sue Atkinson, Strategic Communication Research, News and Media Research Centre
Community Services #1
CS#1 is a community services organisation whose mission is to provide services that enhance quality of life. Our Wellbeing Hub supports children, young people and their families to enjoy physical and metal health, have strong social connections, participate in their communities and feel safe.
Capital Region Community Services
CRCS provides a wide range of high quality, integrated and inclusive programs and services to individuals, families, children and young people in the ACT. We have a strong track record in working with community members, local organisations and businesses to develop responsive programs, services and activities that support self-determination.
Mr Daniel Gaffney, Program Manager Youth Support
Mr Joshua White, Youth Engagement Coordinator
The pilot program will be delivered to a limited number of schools throughout the Canberra region. School presentations are aimed at high school students (years 7-10) and senior primary school students (years 5-6).
Our program is different to many of the existing cyber safety programs and resources, as it does not focus solely on the risks of new technologies. Instead, it focuses on the day to day realities of media use within families, and will provide information and strategies aimed at helping school-age children maximise the benefits of digital media while minimising the risks.
Family workshops are the key component of the Safe Online Together project. These after-hours interactive workshops are aimed at promoting mutual understanding and knowledge about digital media use between children and their parents to reduce media-related conflict within families.
Workshops will be run by researchers, community services staff, as well as young facilitators, who will help bridge the intergenerational divide between parents and their children.
Selected resources will be made available at the workshops. Additionally, workshops will start the conversation about developing and negotiating a family technology agreement between family members.
While our primary goal is to help families, data generated from the workshops will be collected to evaluate the project and inform ongoing research and future initiatives. All data will be anonymised to maintain the privacy of participants.
Family workshops are due to commence from June 2021. If you are interested in participating, please register here.