Youth Global Digital Citizenship
Diasporic youth in a connected world
Led by Amelia Johns (at UTS) the ARC Discovery project, Fostering Global Digital Citizenship: Diasporic Youth in a Connected World, aims to understand how young Australians think about and express their digital citizenship in secondary school classes and in their everyday digital and social media use. The research will help us better understand and improve the relationship between policy, learning material and young people’s online digital media use and practices. The project is in collaboration with CIs Anita Harris, Jessica Walton, Gilbert Caluya from Deakin University.
The focus has been on developing benchmark knowledge of migrant and refugee young people’s everyday digital civic and political practices across selected schools and communities in NSW and Victoria. It aims to draw on this knowledge to inform the development of more inclusive digital citizenship programs and resources (for use in schools) that not only address concerns around digital safety and risk for marginalised communities, but which acknowledge and foster the literacies, skills, voice-making and rights claims of young people who are engaged in local and international digital communities of practice and learning, and who express multiple and overlapping identities and obligations through their digital practices. It will explore how these practices may enhance self-esteem, resilience and connect communities through informal networks.
Young people aged 15 to 24 are ‘the most connected age group in the world’ (UNESCO, 2019:18). Understandably, there are fears and anxieties about young people’s online activities in relation to online bullying and harassment, worry about accessing inappropriate content online, and online radicalisation. Because of these fears, there has been a lot of emphasis on young people’s negative online activities. But we know from more recent research that there is also a positive relationship between young people’s ‘everyday’ use of digital and social media and civic engagement, political activism, and anti-racist action that can also provide a sense of belonging, global community and connectedness. We need to balance these approaches to enhance digital citizenship learning.
A digital citizen is anyone using information technology (such as computers or mobile phones) to access social media, apps, games and other software for entertainment, information seeking, communication and to engage with their social networks and the wider society. Schools are increasingly developing digital citizenship curriculum to help students navigate opportunities and risks associated with digital participation. For our project, we are interested in learning more about how young people use digital media both at school and outside of school in everyday spaces, such as at home. It is important that young people’s experiences and perspectives inform future initiatives such as developing school curriculum and government policy about digital citizenship.