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CORDIS

Digital Technology Use and Teen Wellbeing in Context: An Ethnographic Investigation

Project description

What happens when teens plug in

Digital technology is all around us. Today’s generation of adolescents is immersed in a digital environment that includes social and interactive media. The EU-funded TecWell project will conduct a qualitative, holistic and longitudinal study of adolescent digital literacy and digital media use. Whereas most studies to date rely on quantitative measures that offer little insight into the actual content consumed, this project will take a mixed qualitative approach with an emphasis on ethnography. Specifically, it will investigate the relationship between two factors found to potentially impact teen well-being while using digital media: digital literacy, and the manner in which digital media is integrated into family life. The differences will be examined across gender and socioeconomic divides. The findings will be useful for the development of strategies and guidelines.

Objective

The project is a comparative study of adolescent digital literacy and digital media use, using a mixed qualitative approach with an emphasis on ethnography. The rapid increase in children’s engagement with digital technologies raises questions regarding their potential impact on wellbeing. However, the data currently available to us as to this impact are largely inconclusive. This is partially due to the fact that most studies rely on quantitative measures that offer little insight into the actual content consumed, or the contexts within which engagement with media takes place. The study addresses these limitations by introducing the use of ethnographic methods to investigate the broader relational contexts within which teens’ interaction with digital media takes shape. Specifically, it investigates the relationship between two factors found to potentially impact teen wellbeing while using digital media: digital literacy, and the manners in which digital media is integrated into family life. Differences in digital literacy and family integration patterns are examined across both gender and socioeconomic divides, as well as between children who mostly consume digital media, and those who also produce digital media artifacts and contents through active engagements in spaces such as Fabrication Labs or Makerspaces. By taking a qualitative, holistic and longitudinal approach, the study aims to identify mechanisms involved in facilitating a fruitful integration of digital media into children’s lives, and to generate data needed for the development of strategies and guidelines to aid teens, parents and educators promote digital media engagement in manners that would enhance teen wellbeing.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITAT ROVIRA I VIRGILI
Net EU contribution
€ 172 932,48
Address
CARRER DE ESCORXADOR
43003 Tarragona
Spain

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Region
Este Cataluña Tarragona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 172 932,48