Online Tools and their Impact on Young People
Taylor-Smith, E. (2010, June). Online Tools and their Impact on Young People. Paper presented at ECEG 2010 10th European Conference on eGovernment, University of Limerick, Ireland.
The emergence of social media tools and the enthusiasm by which young people have embraced theses tools as one of their primary modes of interaction is well documented in many current studies. One side effect of this growth is recognition that there is a need for youth workers to re-evaluate their existing methods by which they carry out their work and specifically how they engage with, empower and seek to educate young people. This paper contends that the process of re-evaluation is integral to the future
development of the youth sector, where youth work strives to maintain pace with the fast moving technological developments, readily being utilised by young people. Furthermore, the process has to be embraced at three distinct levels: Policy; Training and Education; and Implementation. Clear appreciation of internet usage trends of the young people and the requirement to develop and maintain the necessary policy documents is intrinsic to the sector. Consistent, understandable and actionable policies are required to guide the work in this new direction, which incorporates compulsory training modules, and where youth workers are supported by appropriate resources. This research employs a hybrid methodology combining analysis of data collected from in-depth interviews, focus groups
involving young people, youth workers and their managers, and analysis of International statistics concerning the internet usage rates and reported behaviour patterns of young people in Ireland .This paper concludes by identifying some of the challenges facing the youth sector in relation to
embracing the internet in their day to day work. These issues range from the mundane such having enough internet points to satisfy demand to the more complex and problematic such as child protection issues, staff training and
education and policy development and implementation. The need for a clear policy framework is also highlighted.
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The technologies that help us to organise and share information on the internet are changing the way we live and work. This information society or knowledge economy people affects is in all kinds of new ways – as individuals, groups and organisations.