focus areas

the family

DigiGen is targeting children and young people from families with different family structures, living in different contexts, with different lived experiences and with different socioeconomic backgrounds. The research focusing on family is being conducted in Austria, Estonia, Norway and Romania. These countries represent different childcare systems. In countries like Romania, state provision to parents is limited and there are few opportunities to work full-time thus there is a greater reliance on intensive grand-parent care while in Austria mothers often work part-time and are thus the main care providers in addition to part-time formal care.

The various care providers might have varying levels of knowledge and support in terms of the use or importance of ICT in the lives of young children. This may also lay the foundation for the level of support or involvement of families in the lives of young people and their ICT use.

The project looks at children’s ICT use within the family and its impact on family communication and daily life. There are three levels of analysis:

  1. Access to technology, the digital divide, devices and modes of connectivity;
  2. Digital affordability, modes of digital inclusion, opportunities and forms of use;
  3. Negotiations within families in terms of use and outcomes.

DigiGen’s aim is to investigate the use and assessment of children of ICT and its importance to their everyday lives. The project examines the potential positive and negative impacts of digital media on family life and communication and develops an understanding of the challenges, advantages and impacts associated with ICT from the perspective of different family members.

Read also on our digital generation blog:

Related DigiGen working papers:

educational institutions

Educational institutions today face the challenge of promoting inclusivity in ICT participation. This goes along with education’s overall aim to avoid the risk of widening the educational divide between children and young people from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds, also the called digital divide when speaking of ICT use in particular. This requires educational institutions and their actors to be adequately equipped, qualified, and knowledgeable in the field of ICT to prepare all children and young people for future employability in the digital age.

DigiGen aims to identify why and how some children and young people in school benefit from ICT use while others seem to be impacted negatively. DigiGen’s research focus on educational institutions takes place in four of the consortium countries: Germany, Norway, Estonia and Romania. Each have a different level of ICT infrastructure in their educational systems. Norway represents schools that are defined as being highly equipped, while Romania represents schools that are poorly equipped, and Germany and Estonia fall somewhere in the middle category.

DigiGen researchers are working together with children and young people in both primary and lower secondary schools. They look at students’ ICT experiences in schools, paying particular attention to transition phases from primary to lower secondary. This entails following a group of students over a longer period and collecting narratives of their ICT experiences, with students as co-designers and co-producers of these narratives, as well as interviews with a selected number of students and teachers in order to obtain insider knowledge from the school communities.

leisure time

The aim of DigiGen’s focus on leisure time is to understand the interplay between leisure and socialisation, as they manifest through ICT use in everyday life. The project examines how everyday practices linked to the leisure time of children and young people are transformed through ICT usage.

An emphasis is on understanding the fusion of digital and material spaces in the interactions of the digital generation and provide insights for improved inter-generational communication between children and parents, grandparents, and teachers on the risks and benefits of ICT.

This part of the research is being conducted in Greece, Norway, Austria, Romania and the UK. One element is to look into the online video game Minecraft. Minecraft has been used to craft communities and foster social connectedness and collaboration. In addition, Minecraft has been used to aid socialization in individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Novel links between Minecraft and recent on work on the role of social cues and community empowerment in enhancing mental health, wellbeing, and resilience are key issues for DigiGen, which makes this a useful tool for data collection. The project aims to use Minecraft to explore online collaborative processes while children and young people play Minecraft in small groups. In investigating collaborative processes DigiGen researchers will pay particular attention to the ways in which the Minecraft communities work towards enhancing mental health, wellbeing, and resilience.

The findings will contribute to new insights into the nature of more and less effective collaborations in multiplayer video games. The project’s goal is to concentrate and build on games such as Minecraft and other multiplayer games in order to understand and contribute towards the wellbeing and (mental) health for children and young people through leisure activities.

Read also on our digital generation blog:

civic participation

DigiGen assesses the role of digital transformations in young people’s online political behaviour. The goal is to assess the extent to which young people, in particular those coming from low socio-economic backgrounds and girls, are heard as digital citizens. The project assesses their online political behaviour accounting for socio-economic and gender considerations and their motivations for using digital content and devices to express political opinions and engage in political actions. The goal is to understand young people’s civic participation as linked to their future world of work and as adult citizens.

The project wants to identify how socio-economic, gender and political culture-related factors influence young people’s online civic participation in three of the consortium countries: UK, Greece and Estonia, and how this might affect them offline.

DigiGen aims to explain why and how some young people are politically active in hybrid (online and offline) environments while others are not, and what forms these activities take. Moreover, the researchers are critically assessing educational systems and the incorporation and promotion of digital citizenship.

Read also on our digital generation blog:

Related DigiGen working papers: