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Digital Technology Use and Teen Wellbeing in Context: An Ethnographic Investigation
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 891653 Call for proposal: H2020-MSCA-IF-2019
Funded under: H2020 | MSCA-IF-EF-ST Overall Budget: 172,932 EURFunder Contribution: 172,932 EUR
Open Access mandate
Research data: No

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.

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