The Beacon app: Supporting parents and carers to promote children’s digital health and wellbeing
Background: Technology provides many opportunities for children and it is important to equip them with the skills to succeed in a digital society. However, many parents and carers express considerable concern about their child’s digital technology use, including their exposure to specific risks such as cyberbullying, grooming and inappropriate content online.
Aims: The Beacon app project aims to address this critical need by providing an easily accessible smartphone app with personalised support, ideas and strategies for parents and carers to help manage their child’s technology use.
Method: The Beacon app builds on a pipeline of the team’s empirical research about young people’s cyber behaviours enhancing the understanding of young people’s experiences in digital environments and how systemic interventions can help reduce risks while also promoting positive online behaviours.
A Beacon Digital Citizenship Framework was developed to include over 600 evidence-based articles and videos, followed by a user testing process involving 100 parents, carers and stakeholders.
Results: Beacon is an Australian-first evidence-based practical resource that provides parents and carers with the knowledge and skills to help their child (aged 0-18 years) use technology safely and appropriately. The main features of the Beacon app include
- For You: Tailored content and alerts, unique to each family’s needs
- Browse: A collection of over 600 articles and videos about digital health and wellbeing
- Family: The opportunity to set up a personalised digital family agreement
- Support: A listing of recommended help and support services for further assistance