Material 11.03.2016

Screenagers report: Using ICT, digital and social media in youth work

Using ICT, digital and social media in youth work” is Erasmus+ funded study, and the latest in a series of collaborations aiming to support the use of ICT in youth work. The inspiration for the study came from the Screenagers International seminar held in Ireland in 2014 (supported through Youth in Action) which had provided a space for partners from across Europe to engage in a new dialogue on ICT in youth work and to identify opportunities to work together.

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A key feature of the 2014 Screenagers International seminar was the collective sense of opportunity around ICT in youth work, and the keen desire to build on the momentum in the areas of youth work policy and practice. Seminar participants felt that international cooperation and sharing of practice has been a major influence in widening workers’ horizons and supporting creative innovative thinking. Following the success of the international seminar, and building on the relationships which had been developed, partners secured Erasmus+ funding in early 2015 to conduct parallel research studies in five European countries.

This report presents an overview and synthesis of the five research studies. The aim of the collaborative research was to explore the extent, value and development of the use of ICT, social and digital media as a tool in youth work, and to provide an evidence-base for recommendations to promote the development of ICT in youth work at organisational, national and European levels.

The research project is consistent with an objective of the Erasmus+ programme, to promote:

‘…an increased level of digital competence [and] more strategic and integrated use of ICTs…by education, training and youth systems’.

The research is very relevant to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, and also to the Declaration of the 2nd European Youth Work Convention in April 2015, which stated that adapting to the growth of ICT presents a challenge for contemporary youth work practice throughout Europe:

‘Young people are increasingly engaging with new technologies and digital media. There is clearly a role for online youth work practice, in terms of exploiting a new space for youth work in a meaningful way, supporting digital literacy and enabling young people to deal with some of the associated risks. The practice implications for youth workers lie in new competencies required and new forms of boundary maintenance in relationships with young people’ [Declaration of the 2nd European Youth Work Convention, Brussels, April 2015].

This report presents an overview of key findings from research conducted by the five partners, and more specifically it aims to identify and demonstrate:

  • the use of ICT, digital and social media in youth work;
  • best innovative practice;
  • outcomes of the use of ICT, digital and social media in youth work;
  • the challenges and barriers, and supports required;
  • training available for the youth sector and recommendations for training needs.

The National Youth Council of Ireland was the lead partner for the project. Research partners within this collaborative research project were Verke (Finland), Centre for Digital Youth Care (Denmark), The Youth Council for Northern Ireland, and wienXtra (Austria).

Check out Infographic summary of research findings .

Alongside the international research report, each agency produced a report detailing national findings, which you can download here.