It is increasingly common for young people to play an active role in carrying out research. This is often done in conjunction with adult researchers or other professionals such as participation workers. It may also include activities related to research such as consultation or participatory enquiry. Digital media can play a valuable role in such projects, enabling children and young people to become co-producers of research.
How digital media can support young people as co-producers
- Digital media may resonate with young people’s interests and habits, e.g. the use of social media
- Young people with digital media skills can bring this expertise to the research process
- The research process can be an opportunity for young people to learn new digital media skills
- Using digital media may result in engaging young people who otherwise might not be involved
- Digital media may be enabling for those who find face-to-face and verbal communication difficult
- Using digital media can reconfigure power relations in helpful ways with young people having more input, influence and recognition
- Results and feedback can be rapid – this can help keep young people engaged.
Many of the organisations involving young people as co-producers of research are in youth work, child participation, education, creative arts or led by young people themselves. Academic researchers often work in partnership with organisations in these areas. Young people also create their own online content by themselves or with friends. It is useful to think about how your research can build on these existing activities.
YOUNG PEOPLE AND DIGITAL MEDIA
When involving young people as co-producers, it can be help to understand how young people use digital media. There has been lots of research on this topic in recent years. Here is a selection:
- Byron, T (2010) Do we have safer children in a digital world? A review of progress since the 2008 Bryon Review, DCSF
- EU Kids Online - Extensive range of resources from a multi-national thematic network which explore use of new media by children
- MacArthur Foundation - Digital Media and Learning
- Ofcom Media Literacy Research - Range of research which looks at children’ use of media.
- Kelly, T and Minges, M. 2012 Information and Communications for Development: Maximising Mobile. The World Bank.