Youth work and social networking - Findings from research


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Presentation by Tim Davies of Practical Participation from our 'New generation, new media, new challenge' conference Nov 2008

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Youth work and social networking - Findings from research

  1. 1. Youth Work and Online Social Networking Findings from research Research funded by: November 27th 2008 Tim Davies ( Young people network photo by ranflickr, ( Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution licensed)
  3. 3. What is online social networking?
  4. 4. 4 1 3 2
  5. 5. 8 6 5 7
  6. 6. What is youth work?
  7. 7. Youth Work • Statutory sector youth service established in the 1960s • Young person centered model – starting where young people are • Informal education, associational, group work - moving beyond where young people start • Resourcefulness, Resiliency, Resolve
  8. 8. Youth Work • 4,225 (3,630 FTE) Youth Workers, • 17,000 (3,900 FTE) Youth Support Workers • In contact with average 27.5% of local 13 – 19 year old population • Works with excluded groups Source: NYA Audit, 2005-6 (
  9. 9. Youth Work and Social Networking • Literature review • Survey • Focus groups • Action research
  10. 10. How are young people ‘social networking’ online?
  11. 11. Keeping in Making new contact Sharing content contacts Informal Hanging out Exploring identity learning
  12. 12. Finding a ‘youth work perspective’ on online social networking...
  13. 13. Youth Workers perceptions of the risks to young people • Bullying (53%) • Disclosing personal information (35%) • Abuse and exploitation (29%) • Too much time on computer (23%) • Risks from sexual predators (22%)
  14. 14. Youth worker perceptions of opportunities for young people • Increased opportunities for self expression (64%) • Developing wider range of contacts in the UK and internationally (60%) • Getting involved in real world positive activities (31%)
  15. 15. Wordle
  16. 16. Social Network Sites (SNS) present young people with a wide range of opportunities and risks. Opportunities and risks go hand in hand. The opportunities and risks of most concern to young people (keeping in touch with friends and bullying respectively) are different from those most frequently highlighted in the mainstream media.
  17. 17. Young people need support to develop the appropriate resources and resilience to navigate risk and to make the most of opportunities on SNS, and peer groups need opportunities to negotiate and develop positive norms for their interaction on SNS.
  18. 18. Many of the reasons young people may encounter risks through SNS have roots outside of the technology, in issues of young people's personal and social development. The appropriate response to SNS risk may not involve technology.
  19. 19. Social networking sites can be made safer when youth workers, as professional and trusted adults, actively engage with them.
  20. 20. Youth work can engage with SNS as one or more of:  an environment in which young people need support and guidance;  a marketing tool for promoting youth work opportunities and activities;  a communications tool for interacting with young people and groups of young people;  a youth work tool for promoting young peoples creative expression, political engagement and wider personal and social development;  a starting point to work from in helping young people develop their skills, interests and capacities across a range of issues and areas;  a platform for new forms of online youth work;
  21. 21. Youth work methods have a particular contribution to make in encouraging and supporting young people to adopt safe and positive online behaviours.
  22. 22. Are youth workers ready to put this perspective into practice?
  23. 23. Survey results 90% 86% believe that they have a crucial role 81% believe that training for youth supporting young workers would be find web filters are effective in people to navigate used in their work risk maximising settings support for young people 42% 44% believe web filters feel equipped to provide that support. to be effective way to manage 29% 29% risk have access to have received SNS in their work such training settings
  24. 24. Survey, safety, staff, strategy
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  26. 26.
  27. 27. Guidance is provided for staff to manage their personal SNS profiles. It is clear who is allowed to use SNS as part of their work. And in what ways are they allowed to use SNS. It is clear how should youth workers manage their work SNS profiles. It is clear what recording of contact should take place. Guidelines should exist for workers and young people about conduct in online SNS spaces. There are guidelines on how workers should deal with concerns about young people's safety or conduct.
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  32. 32. Awareness of SNS in youth work Three levels Promotion of Youth Work through SNS Using SNS as a Youth Work Tool
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  34. 34. Links to credits for Creative Commons photos from are included on images/in slide notes Graphics by Small Kid Design (