Young Canadians in a Wired World Phase III

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, South Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, education, youth, literacy, internet

Principal Investigator: Huxtable, Lynn (2)
Licence Number: 15166
Organization: MediaSmarts (formerly Media Awareness Network)
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2005
Issued: Nov 26, 2012
Project Team: Charles Ungerleider (Director of Research & Managing Partner, Directions Evidence & Policy Research Group), Jane Tallim (Co-Executive Director, MediaSmarts), Valerie Steeves (Lead Researcher, University of Ottawa)

Objective(s): The two objectives of this research are to revisit the Internet landscape from the previous two phases and assess how young people’s patterns of use and attitudes have changed and to follow up on the themes that emerged from the teacher interviews and the parent and youth focus groups conducted in 2011.

Project Description: Initiated in 2000 by MediaSmarts the Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW) research study is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging study of children and teens’ Internet use in Canada.

Phases I and II of this ongoing research project – which tracks and investigates the behaviours, attitudes, and opinions of Canadian children and youth with respect to their use of the Internet – were conducted over a five year period:

Phase I baseline research (2000-2001), comprised telephone interviews with parents, focus groups with parents and young people, and quantitative research findings from a national school-based survey of 5,682 students in Grades 4 to 11.

Phase II (2004-2005), included qualitative research findings from focus groups with parents and young people, and quantitative research findings from a national school-based survey of 5,272 students in Grades 4 to 11.

The objective of YCWW Phase III is to revisit the Internet landscape from the previous two phases and assess how young people’s patterns of use and attitudes have changed and to follow up on the themes that emerged from the teacher interviews and the parent and youth focus groups conducted in 2011.
Through this research study MediaSmarts has collected a wealth of information and insight about the online activities and behaviours of young Canadians. The research has raised a number of issues demanding society’s attention and, more importantly, has highlighted the importance of education as a key response in helping young people make smart and informed online decisions.

YCWW Phase III is a nation-wide investigation of a representative sample of Canadian children and youth, ages 9 to 17. The study will be conducted in early 2013 in every province and territory and will include Public and Roman Catholic and English and French schools in both urban and rural school districts. The sample will include approximately 6,000 students and will be proportionate in terms of age sub-groups, males and females, French and English speakers and stratified by province/territory and community size.

The classroom survey will comprise both online and paper-based questionnaires (for classrooms where Internet connected computers are unavailable or bandwidth is an issue). Two versions of the questionnaire will be produced, one for students in Grades 7 to 11, and a shorter version for students in Grades 4 to 6. There will be approximately 100 to 125 questions, which will be developed based on the findings from the YCWW Phase III focus groups of parents and youth that were conducted in October 2011. Advice will be provided by an advisory committee consisting of experts in young people’s Internet use.

A research firm has been contracted to assist with the logistics, analysis and report preparation. The contracted research firm adheres to Professional Marketing Research Society (PMRS) and Canadian Association of Marketing Research Organizations (CAMRO) standards.

By agreeing to participate, the schools will be committing to one 40-minute session per participating class. The exact date in February will be determined in consultation with the schools.

INFORMED CONSENT:
The contracted research firm will supply the parent consent form and information letter, teacher instruction letter and student information letter to the schools and ask that the teachers of the selected classrooms distribute the forms to the students. The teacher will collect the signed parent consent forms and return them with the completed surveys in the self-addressed courier envelopes provided by the research firm. Before the student completes the survey, the teacher will review with the class the information contained in the letter of information addressed to the student. If the student still wants to participate, they will complete the survey. The student’s assent to participate will be implied by their completing the survey and either returning the paper survey to the teacher or submitting the completed survey online.

EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT:
Data collected from the YCWW Phase III research will be used for non-profit, educational purposes only. In Canada, the YCWW findings have contributed to the Government of Canada's policy statement on Illegal and Offensive Content on the Internet and the establishment of a national hotline to report the online sexual exploitation of children (www.cybertip.ca).

Date collected from Phase III will be used to:
- Create relevant Internet policies in Canadian schools and public libraries
- Track changes in young Canadians' use of the Internet over time
- Create digital literacy resources and programs which help young Canadians get the most out of new media while making safe, wise and responsible online decisions

The final research report on YCWW Phase III will be published on the MediaSmarts website December 2013. A launch event will take place in Ottawa and include a media conference and media release. A copy of the final research report will be sent to each participating district office and to the principals of each participating school.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 1, 2013 to February 28, 2013.