28 October 2021

The Digital Child: Making friends and connections in a post-pandemic world

This event was held as part of Children’s Week 2021 (23-31 October) with our industry partners.

The ARC Center of Excellence for the Digital Child acknowledges the First Australian owners of the Lands where this seminar was recorded and the Lands where presenters and participants work, live and walk. We pay respect to their Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits. We recognise that these Lands have always been places of teaching, research and learning. The Centre acknowledges the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people play within our communities.

About the seminar

Join our industry partners for a free online seminar as part of Children’s Week 2021 (23-31 October).

As the world gradually moves towards life after lockdowns, we explore how a post-pandemic world will affect the Digital Child and their right to make friends and connect safely with others.

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly transformed our lives, with digital technology integral to both opportunities and challenges for children, families and educators. This year’s Children’s Week theme focusses on Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child – that children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others. In this free online seminar, our panellists will discuss how the pandemic and digital technology have given rise to children’s right to make their own friendships, the implications and opportunities.

This seminar will be chaired by Taryn Marks (AIME), featuring panellists Samantha Yorke (Google), Dr Kate Highfield (Early Childhood Australia) and Megan O’Sullivan (Scitech), with an introduction from Professor Susan Danby (Director, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child).

About the speakers

Taryn Marks

Taryn Marks, AIME Taryn Marks is the General Manager of AIME, supporting First Nations and other young people outside the margins across the globe to achieve education equity, through structured mentoring and imagination, delivered through an online social network for good. Taryn is from a long line of storytellers and educators – she is from Wotjobaluk Country, Wergaia language group and with more recent connections to Dja Dja Wurrung Country. Previous to her role at AIME, Taryn was the Outreach Manager and Senior Advisor (Indigenous Policy and Strategy) at SBS. She was also Policy Project Officer at the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.

Samantha Yorke

Samantha Yorke, Google (Government Affairs and Public Policy) Sam works in Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google Australia, with a focus on privacy, safety, misinformation, defamation and security. She is an accredited mediator, technology lawyer and policy advisor with over twenty years’ experience working within the digital media and technology sectors both in Europe and Australia. Prior to joining Google, Sam established the regulatory function at the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia and worked as General Counsel and Asia Pacific Legal Director for Yahoo!’s Australian business. Sam has acted as a media spokesperson and is a regular public speaker on trends and challenges affecting the digital industry.

dr kate highfield

Dr Kate Highfield, Early Childhood Australia (General Manager, Professional Learning and Research Translation) Dr Kate Highfield is an experienced leader, teacher and researcher in the early childhood education and care sector, with an interest in how technology impacts learning, pedagogy and play. Kate spent over a decade working as a classroom teacher and then 10 years working as a lecturer at Macquarie University in the Institute of Early Childhood and as a research fellow at RIPPLE (Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education). Kate has worked as an educational advisor on a range of ABC products for children, including Playschool, ABC Kids, ABC Innovation and several ABC apps.