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Monday, June 21, 2021

UC tackling family conflict in technology use

The School of Arts and Communication at the University of Canberra is taking on the challenging task of attempting to solve family conflict around technology use.

After receiving more than $100,000 from the Australian Government’s Online Safety Grants Program, the University will partner with two local organisations to develop family resources promoting online safety.

Lead researcher Dr Catherine Page Jeffery said along with Community Services #1 and Capital Region Community Services, they will deliver the Safe Online Together program.

“Parents are tasked with protecting their children from online risks, while simultaneously maximising the various opportunities that digital media offer young people,” she said.

“This is no easy task and my research indicates that many parents find this difficult.”

The program will promote intergenerational knowledge of digital technologies, while aiming to stimulate discussion on managing online risks and setting family protocols.

It will offer a range of workshops and online resources for both parents and children.

“Through the workshops, we hope that both parents and their children can appreciate each other’s concerns and perspectives,” Dr Jeffery said.

“We want parents to appreciate the important role that digital media plays in the lives of young people.

“At the same time, we want young people to acknowledge their parents’ concerns about online risks, as well as their parents’ desire for balanced used of digital media.”

Research from the university’s News and Media Research Centre (N&MRC), which studies the relationship between media and communication in our daily lives, will be used.

N&MRC director Professor Kerry McCallum said the research would be integral in producing the program.

“This research will provide practical skills and knowledge for young people to recognise and combat online safety risks, and it is designed to be scaled up nationally,” she said.

“Its innovative approach breaks down the intergenerational barriers between school aged children, young adults and parents, and fosters a healthier conversation about cyber safety.

The Online Safety Grants Program initiative is run by the eSafety Commissioner, targeted at non-government organisation to develop resources and products to improve online safety in the community.

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