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Perth College Years 5 and 6 students recently concluded a child-friendly social media platform trial with great success.

DiGii Social is an online site that replicates the challenges of a social media environment in a safe and secure way to prepare students before they are legally old enough to use social media.

Students took part in tutorials to improve their digital citizenship skills and help them better navigate an increased presence in an online world.

DiGii Social Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Claire Orange, described the site as a transformative cyber education tool.

“We slowly and gently educate kids in an age-appropriate way on all aspects and concepts,” she said.

“There are 50 challenges covering everything from grooming to pornography, clickbait sequences and graphic content.

“The Artificial Intelligence on DiGii can catch racism, hate speech, bad language, photos that expose too much skin or photos trying to be posted without consent.

"Little moderators, DiGii characters, will pop up and show them what they got wrong. They get three strikes before they get kicked off… then they get walked through a specific tutorial.

“The children have their own central, primary dashboard and then the teachers have one too and parents have their own platform with access to lots of brief videos to teach them about different topics.”

Year 5 Perth College student, Sylvie, described DiGii Social as an “amazing asset” to the classroom.

“It was a fun and interactive opportunity for our class to learn about the essentials of online safety,” she said.

“After the first week of the DiGii Social trial, I already felt safer when online.”

Claire said she was inspired to start DiGii Social to contribute to the preventative, proactive side of children’s mental health.

“I suppose the last five years for me as a therapist has seen some significant change, especially around the digital lives of children,” she said.

“We’ve seen a real shift in the problems of childhood – lots of children are online playing in a very difficult and dangerous space with very little supervision.

“I guess one of the driving statistics behind all of this is that suicide is the leading cause of death in Australian children and one quarter of those are due to cyber bullying.

“This is me coming from a very hurt and vulnerable space as a therapist and feeling like we’ve let children down so thinking ‘let’s do it better and teach kids in a way we know they like to do things’.”

Since celebrating their first year in operation in May, DiGii Social has been a finalist in the 2020 technology-based Lateral Incite Awards Social Impact and Startup of the Year categories, and won the People’s Choice Award and Pitchfest.

“We’ve come a long way in our year and it’s exciting to have such a baby of a company and already be kicking these goals," Claire said.

DiGii Social is currently based in 50 schools with thousands of children playing on the platform every week as part of a performance trial.

Next year, Claire said she would look to commercialise the technology to expand further into the international market.

“We have interest from the US and the UK, so we will be taking business outside of Australia, but I am a fiercely proud West Australian girl and I really want to launch our technology here… it’s important to me that this is an Australian innovation, even though it is a product for the world," she said.

To learn more about DiGii Social, click here.