Capturing First Nations children’s views about their wellbeing through an interactive app

May 27th, 2024

The app uses culturally grounded methods to host art and Yarning sessions with First Nations children across Australia.

Screen shot of What Matters 2 Kids app © University of Queensland.

The What Matters 2 Kids (WM2K) project integrates culture, innovation and technology to identify what supports children’s wellbeing and inform the development of a nationally relevant wellbeing measure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5-11 years.

The WM2K app invites the child to draw on a tablet. The child is then asked to describe their art and its importance to them. Art and storytelling integrated into the app create an enjoyable experience that children can explore at their own pace, with support on hand if needed.

The AEHRC’s David Ireland was involved in the creation of the app. He first developed the technology to help children with chronic pain and is now using it for other health and wellbeing applications.

The app enables the experiences of all children, including non-verbal children, to be heard.


“This project is a great example of how through collaboration we can develop novel applications for our digital technology that has potential to make a really positive change for Australians,” Dr Ireland said.

For Dr Ireland, what brings the app to life is the integration of culture and community. Users are guided through the experience by the spirited young voice of eight-year-old First Nations child, Stevie Fagan. Culturally appropriate icons designed by Craig Carson help form a connection with First Nations children as they interact with the WM2K app.

Lead Investigator Dr Kate Anderson is excited about the impact of the project.

“This app will allow First Nations children to participate in research about their own health and wellbeing in a fun and familiar way, and the rich data we are able to collect will enhance the research project,” Dr Anderson said.

Originally published by University of Queensland.

L-R: Professor Gail Garvey, Neelam Malik, Dr David Ireland, Stevie Fagan, Kristen Fagan, and Craig Carson © University of Queensland

Project Facilitators Taleah Carson and Tasha-Jade Cole (standing) with Stevie Fagan and Kristen Fagan (seated). © University of Queensland