Online Youth Participation Project, NSW14 March, 2010
|By Allison Orr|
This report describes a pilot project commissioned by the NSW Minister for Youth (The Hon Graham West MP) and the NSW Department of Community services to explore and test the use of online social networking technologies for the purpose of engaging young people in civic affairs. It was conducted in the Central Coast and North Coast of NSW.
The pilot involved a field study in the two regions which took place from mid January to the end of April 2009. It was conducted in both electronic and physical spaces in six phases, beginning with face-to-face interviews with young people to gain insight into potential areas in which the proposal money could be used and to learn about their online behaviour patterns. From this information a short list of proposals was developed.
The short list comprised of five areas young people viewed as important:
1) environmental issues such as awareness-raising and activities such as planting more trees,
2) provision of spaces for young people to hang out,
3) provision of skate, surf and BMX competitions and workshops,
4) access to sporting equipment and
5) under 18 music events with local bands and artists.
Learning from the project included:
- That young people will engage with NSW government decision making through social networking sites.
- That overall all young people in both regions voted for music events as their first preference.
- That only the MySpace poll was able to identify the regional affiliation of voters. IP addresses and other geographic screening mechanisms were not as effective as anticipated. The MySpace poll indicated that there were regional differences with the second and third choices in the North Coast being places for young people to hang out and expenditure on environmental issues and the second and third preferences from the Central Coast were sporting competitions and equipment.
- As participation and voting occurred largely in response to activity generated in the targeted areas by the campaign it is likely that voting or any other participation from young people outside the areas targeted is extremely low.
- That further development of voting instruments and other participatory tools is required to enable deeper analysis of the ranking of votes and the geographic location of participants.
Read the full report at the following link:http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/vital/access/manager/Repository/unsworks:4562
The pilot team would like to receive feedback, comments and suggestions for further action from our readers. Please send any feedback to Daryll Hull, DHull@talc.com.au.