Ideally these research projects will help ensure that the Internet, which is now a ubiquitous aspect of daily life, is a safe space for all children and youth. The results will be useful for policy makers, educators, and parents alike. These research projects are funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR).
CyberTeens is a 4-year longitudinal study that aims to understand the developmental and social factors related to adolescent’s technology engagement, as well as the long term impact of spending so much time on screens. This work is novel in that it is framed within the context of adolescent development and therefore accounts for the salience of social goals and peer/romantic relationships for this age group.
The CKLive project utilizes an Experience Sampling Method (ESM) framework to learn about the types of difficulties that youth might have when they’re socializing online, such as cyberbullying and online aggression. From past studies, we know that children and teenagers are the largest users of the Internet, and spend much of their online time socializing with friends. Although we are starting to understand some of the predictors and consequences of cyberbullying, very little is known about how adolescents experience these events in the moment as they are happening, which is the goal of the current study. By understanding the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours as they unfold, we will be in a better position to develop intervention and education programs.
The CyberKids study is a 4-year longitudinal project that aims to understand the online social worlds of children and youth. Kids spend a large amount of time online socializing with friends and acquaintances. Indeed, communication technologies allow teenagers to be in near constant connection with their peers. However, with this connectedness comes an increased risk of being exposed to cyberbullying, as well as privacy concerns related to disclosure of personal information online. This longitudinal research intends to explore how cyberbullying changes over time, as well as the impact of parent and peer relationships on these more adverse aspects of online socializing.
YouthMADE (Media Arts Diversity Empowerment) was a media production, facilitation training and educational outreach project run by the Access to Media Education Society (AMES). The project was aimed at building capacity for marginalized youth and involved having 20 multi-barriered urban and rural youth between the ages of 15 and 18 came together on a remote island in British Columbia to participate in a 10-day intensive media production training. Participants self organized into small production teams to create films about racism, homophobia and social isolation. Each of the YouthMADE videos have since been showcased in a series of youth-facilitated anti-discrimination workshops that have reached over 3300 elementary and secondary students and teachers. These workshops have shown promise as powerful social-emotional/social responsibility educational tools, as well as catalysts for community-based dialogue. This project and its artifacts contribute to an emergent understanding of youths’ media and cultural practices, and highlight the importance of digital story telling for fostering empathy and increasing understanding of diversity.
Researchers have begun to use e-mail, chat rooms and Instant Messenger to conduct qualitative research with a variety of participants. However, given the absence of previous research on the nature of online interview methods, these studies must simply assume that their methods yield results that are equivalent to those obtained in research employing traditional face-to-face interviews. The principal objective of this research was to explore the utility of a synchronous medium of online communication for conducting semi-structured research interviews about career and educational aspirations, with adolescent participants. This research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanity Council of Canada.