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Engaging young people online - whaddya reckon?

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A presentation on options for engaging people in family related issues online. This was prepared as part of a small research project for the New Zealand Families Commission komihana a whānau. September 2007.

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Engaging young people online - whaddya reckon?

  1. 1. engaging young people online - whaddya reckon? presentation by Stephen Blyth 15 September 2007
  2. 2. statistics, damn statistics 90% 86% 72% 71% 65% 54% 36% 18% 0% Computer Internet Mobile phone(2) Technology Household Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Survey (2006) Statistics New Zealand Big picture - who in New Zealand is online. In the last year 65% households with Internet access. Numbers high and rising but still a significant group missing out.
  3. 3. statistics, damn statistics Individual internet use in last 12 months 15–24 502,000 85.5% Household Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Survey (2006) Statistics New Zealand A larger proportion of young people online than any other age group. Statistics NZ figures show 85.5% used Internet in last twelve months. Some Remaining 14.5% not users for a number of reasons: dislike using computers, do not have Internet access at home, school, workplace, and do not use public terminals.
  4. 4. statistics, damn statistics Daily use is the norm for half of kids overall % of New Zealand children with internet access at home 80 67 70 78% of children had used 60 the internet in the past week 50 50 43 40 34 30 30 22 20 14 12 8 7 10 5 3 2 2 1 0 In last day In last week in last month More than 1 mth ago Don't know all 6 - 17 Broadband Homes Dial-up Homes Nielsen/ NetRatings “New Zealand eGeneration Study 2005: Kids and Teens Online” When was the last time you used the Internet? Base: New Zealand Children Aged 6-17 who use the Internet & have access at home Of people survey, over three quarters online at least every week. Note dierences in use between dial-up and broadband users.... if have broadband at home over 25% more likely to be online daily. Figures likely to have increased since 2005.
  5. 5. Children’s online activities 80% Homework 70% Email 69% Games 64% Playing games against the computer(eg single player) 63% Other things for school 51% Music 42% Instant messaging (messenger) 40% Entering competitions 33% Multiplayer gaming (playing against other people on the Internet) 29% TV / movie websites 28% Magazine websites eg Total Girl, Dolly 24% Information - Various subjects A more ‘active’ engagement with the 24% Movies / video 23% Software internet, as compared with the 17% File sharing (music / video) functional use of adults – banking, 15% Computer game cheats 15% Buying products/services news, directories… 15% Chat rooms 11% Online radio 11% Other ‘Immersive’ advertising opportunities 9% Download pictures 8% Blogging - own or reading others (see Neopets) 6% Leisure / fun and browsing 5% Sports info / results 5% Digital collectables 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Do you use the Internet for any of the following reasons? % of New Zealand children aged 6 - 17 who use internet Base: New Zealand Children Aged 6-17 who use the Internet (n=501) So what are people actually doing online... Statistics on NZ internet use by young people dificult to obtain at the moment. Waiting for Statistics NZ to release more data from their household ICT survey last year. In figures here from Nielsen Netratings 2005 focus interaction revolves around chat or instant messaging, but social networking doe snot figure. Blogging and creating content do not figure highly.
  6. 6. More statistics Despite prevalence of internet it is not ranked near the top of the list in terms of favourite pastimes for 8-18 year olds (tv tops) NZs in 8-14 age group, 39% visited user generated website, 16% uploaded clips NZ kids ranked higher than their British or Australian counterparts creating content on social network sites (eg MySpace, Bebo) Circuits of Cool/ Digital Playground technology and lifestyle survey (2007) Quantitative and qualitative survey methodology used to talk with 18,000 “tech embracing” 14-24 year olds in 16 countries “New Zealand youth were actually found to be amongst the most sociable of those countries surveyed, preferring to hang out with their friends over spending time online.”
  7. 7. CREATING CONNECTING//Research and Guidelines on Online Social — and Educational — Networking NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION Research conducted in USA, comprising: - online survey with 1,277 nine to 17 year olds - online survey with 1,039 parents - telephone interviews with 250 school district leaders. Useful to look at trends in USA, where Internet use higher, though cannot necessarily directly link back to NZ situtation.
  8. 8. Popular Social Networking Activities language, posting inappropriate pictures, sharing personal infor- Percentage of online tweens and teens who say they do these activities at least weekly mation with strangers or pretend- ing to be someone they are not. 41% Posting messages Nonconformists are signifi- cantly heavier users of social net- 32% Downloading music working sites than other students, participating in every single type 30% Downloading videos of social networking activity sur- veyed (28 in all) significantly 29% Uploading music more frequently than other stu- dents both at home and at school 25% Updating personal Web sites or online profiles — which likely means that they break school rules to do so. For 24% Posting photos example, 50 percent of noncon- formists are producers and 38 17% Blogging percent are editors of online con- tent, compared to just 21 percent 16% Creating and sharing virtual objects and 16 percent, respectively, of other students. 14% Creating new characters These students are significantly more likely to be heavy users of 10% Participating in collaborative projects both new media (online, video games, handhelds) and old media 10% Sending suggestions or ideas to Web sites (TV, videos/DVDs, radio). But they are significantly more likely 9% Submitting articles to Web sites to prefer new media to old. They also are disproportionately likely 9% Creating polls, quizzes or surveys to learn about new sites and fea- tures online, through the “chat vine” or other online mechanisms, while other students are more Source: Grunwald Associates LLC Creating Connecting page 3 Of student respondents, 96% with online access have used social networking technologies, including chat, text messaging, blogging, and visiting online communities. Some very active users: 21% say they post comments daily; 41% say they post messages at least one a week. 30% of students have their own blogs, with 17% adding material at least once a week.
  9. 9. visited two or more kinds of sites. human rights or other participatory issues, over !quot; If these levels of participation are to be half (54%) of 12-19 year olds who go online at increased, further efforts – in design, in visibility, least once a week have visited at least one such in communicating relevance, and in educational/ website. Charities appear marginally more More statistics social support – will be needed. popular, but the main finding is that each civic/political area appears to generate a similar, and modest, level of interest from teenagers. Figure 5: Have you ever visited websites about…? % 100 90 80 70 60 50 54 40 30 20 27 22 21 18 10 14 0 Charity Environment Government Human rights Improving Any of these conditions at school/ work Base: 12-19 year olds who use the internet at least once a week (N=975.) Multiple responses allowed. A research report from the UK Children Go Online project (October 2004) Active participation or just more information? Young people’s take up of opportunities to act and interact on the internet A research report from the UK Children Go Online project (www.children-go-online.net) October 2004 54% of 12-19 year olds who go online at least once at week sought out information about political, environmental, human rights or other participatory issues On average, however, only one of these kinds of sites (out of a possible six) is visited by each individual, suggesting that overall, visiting civic websites is low on young people’s priorities. Further, only 31% of girls and 23% of boys have visited two or more kinds of sites. When they visit civic/political websites, what do young people do? • The majority of 12-19 year olds who had visited such a site said that they just ‘checked it out’ (64%). Some had sent an email (18%), voted for something or signed a petition (12%) or joined a chat room (5%) on the site. It seems that for all but a minority, political and civic sites are more a source of information than an opportunity to become engaged.17 • This low level of engagement was confirmed when we asked email, IM and chat users aged 12-19 (N=828) if they discuss such political or civic issues peer-to-peer on the internet. More than half (56%) say they never talk about these issues with anyone by email, IM or chat. However, 14% have done so once or twice, 24% sometimes and 4% often. Reference Group set by Children’s Commissioner echoed findings: Happy to talk about politics, or answer a questionnaire But wouldn’t purposely look for a site out of interest, even if it was likely to make better rules, or laws
  10. 10. Telling it like it is, pt 1 From the Children’s Commissioners Reference Group: Don’t just try and invite people to the existing Couch, you need a dedicated youth corner Avoid having parents being asked for permission – it’s a turn-off Rewards or incentives to particpate are good A competition could work, but this needs careful thought Bebo is currently most popular place to hang out online In early August 2007 I attended a Children’s Commissioners Reference Group meeting to ask for feedback on the idea of a website or section to talk with young people. This the feedback I received.
  11. 11. Telling it like it is, pt 1 From the Children’s Commissioners Reference Group: A clear purpose for collecting info, and seeing feedback Place relevant adverts on other popular websites Involve young people in design
  12. 12. Telling it like it is, pt 2 From the Tech Exec: Not voting yet, so interaction with government seen in very narrow terms Want opportunities to tell government stuff, but don’t fit boxes of government departments Prefer elegant, fast, simple websites: everything needs to be instant Needs to be interactive, visual Feeling that young people are ignored At a meeting the SSC online participation community of practice, the Wellington based Tech Exec made a presentation. The tech exec are senior high school students from several dierent schools, who support younger students to use IT, run occasional IT related events, and challenge teachers to get with it.
  13. 13. Telling it like it is, pt 2 From the Tech Exec: Apathy not is necessarily the case, but feeling that dominant voices or the few actually get heard Involve young people in design
  14. 14. Prof Coleman’s view “A key message for government is that engaging young people in online debates and consultation is counter- productive unless there is a serious and authentic commitment to listen and learn – in short, to engage with them.” “The key to making online civic and political content meaningful is for it to be open to the widest possible interpretation, re-interpretation and re-mixing.” Remixing Citizenship: democracy and young peoples use of the Internet (May 2005) In the “Remixing Citizenship: democracy and young peoples use of the Internet (May 2005)” report Professor Stephen Coleman reports on research he’d conducted into young peoples use of internet from citizenship point of view. This entailed 100 13-18 year olds visiting selected websites and giving feedback, plus 8 face to face semi-structured discussions with same age group in schools. Amongst other things, he grapples with defining what is ‘cool’.
  15. 15. Some issues to consider Safety: privacy, digital footprints, sensitive content (help and support) Anonymity: is information collected reliable? Building a critical mass Design – ‘cool’ remixing, mashups ... involve young people (ala Tim McCreanor, Whariki) Whose voices? Because not everyone is online At the forefront of any eort to set up an online forum for expression of young people’s views on families, need to consider these issues.
  16. 16. Some issues to consider Age groups – up to 12 or so, not confident creators of content .. Liz Butterfield says from 12-13 years old young people confident creators, capable of making decisions online Social networking websites membership only open to those 13 years and older, but extends into 20s and beyond Relevance and impact: what does the Commission want to learn from young people? Coming up... I suggest two options to consider: 1. join an existing social networking space 2. interactive school based projects
  17. 17. option 1: join an existing social networking space Go to where young people already congregate Piggy back on existing uses, rather than focusing on policy, politics , civic-mindedness Create an engagement/ participation space on Myspace, Bebo or another popular social networking website Invite creative contributions from young people, generate discussion, occasional poll, competitions Age group: 13 years plus .. Myspace is only for people aged 16 years and over Bebo 13 years plus Faketown 13 years plus Coming are examples of reputable organisations using different online social networking sites.
  18. 18. option 1: pros Large existing audience, eg Bebo 800,000 NZ members aged between 13 and 30; Aug 2007 stats: 5th most visited website in NZ eg Myspace Feb 2007 300,000 members; Aug 2007 stats: 18th most visited website in NZ Safety measures available Creative, contributory, co-production Few NZ organisations going online
  19. 19. option 1: cons Mistrusted, banned by schools Lack of control over content, who links, etc Boundary pushing content by advertisers (as well as potential for links to objectionable) Difficulty for users finding specific channels Reputation for unsafe behaviour (eg privacy, stalking) Limited control over age of participants Fast changing: site popularity rises and falls very rapidly
  20. 20. option 2: interactive school based projects Facilitate creative digital activity with children at selected school around discussing, recording, researching and sharing about their family life Use blogs, podcasts, websites, presentations, videos or other digital content. Pictures, drawings, song, creative content. Directly or indirectly learn about children’s and/ or young people’s experience of family life Share results publicly and promote this Some examples of these types of things happening: eg Living Heritage eg The Outlook for Someday video competition
  21. 21. Living heritage projects feature school classes reaching out into local communities to learn about and document histories, stories and personalities. www.livingheritage.org.nz
  22. 22. Young people up to the age of 20 were invited to submit a short film on some aspect of sustainability.
  23. 23. option 2: pros Highly controlled process Scalable: start small and build up Low risk initial launch High level of participation by children/ young people involved Benefit of participation regardless of downstream policy impacts Could work with a wide range of age groups
  24. 24. option 2: cons Dependent on finding schools willing to participate Limited awareness around the country beyond people directly involved Significant planning upfront, including link to curriculum Quality determined by motivation of facilitator, students, teachers
  25. 25. Who I talked with... Tim McCreanor, Whariki/ SHORE, Massey University Liz Butterfield, Hectors World John Fenaughty, Netsafe Ahsley Blair, StudyIT Marianne Doczi, DoL Raewyn Baldwin, WCC Lyn Campbell (as former youth advocate) I draw no conclusions.
  26. 26. What I read.... “NZ youth take part in MTV’s Circuits of Cool”, C4 Music Television media release 24 July 2007 (download: 12 September 2007) “e-Me Stories Scenarios: the ideal electronic galaxy of the student”, Lars Albinsson , Olove Forsgren and Mikael Lind (2006) “Children’s Media Use and Responses: a reivew of the literature”, NZ Broadcasting Standards Authority (July 2007) “Creating Connecting: research and guidelines on online social - and educational - networking”, National School Boards Association (USA) (July 2007) “New Zealand eGeneration Study 2005: Kids and Teens Online”, Jennifer Reddington (2005) “Teens, Privacy Online Social Networks: How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace”, Amanda Lenhart and Mary Madden, Pew/ Internet (April 2007) “Remixing Citizenship: democracy and young people’s use of the Internet”, Professor Stephen Coleman (with Chris Rowe) (May 2005) “Active participation or just more information? Young people’s take up of opportunities to act and interact on the internet”, Sonia Livingstone, Magdalena Bober and Ellen Helsper, UK Children Go Online project (October 2004) “Get it together”, Russell Brown, NZ Listener (no. 3455, August 2006) “Why youth (heart) social network sites: the role of networked publics in teenage social life”, danah boyd, in press MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning, Identity Volume