Framing the Challenges of Digital Inclusion for Young Canadians
in Dubois, E. and Martin-Bariteau, F. (eds.), Citizenship in a Connected Canada: A Research and Policy Agenda, Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press, 2020
21 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020 Last revised: 5 Nov 2020
Date Written: June 5, 2020
This chapter reports on The eQuality Project’s initial findings from focus groups conducted in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 with a diversity of youth (ages 13–17) in three Canadian cities about their perspectives and experiences of privacy and equality in networked spaces. Focus groups explored online activities and platforms used by participants, whether and how privacy was an essential aspect to their enjoyment, online experiences where they felt unwelcome or disrespected, and their strategies to mitigate these constraints. We use a modified version of the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ digital inclusion framework to link the perspectives and apprehensions of the young people we interviewed to emerging digital policy questions. These include access (availability, affordability, inclusive design, and public access), application (across various sectors and uses like education, workplaces, employment, economic development, health, public safety, and civic engagement), and adoption (uptake and relevance, privacy and data rights, safety, and digital literacy). We conclude with several policy suggestions, including holding platform companies accountable and transparent about their data collection and privacy protection practises through producing coherent and well-designed terms of service; ensuring funding for enriched digital literacy programming for schools, parents, and young people in order to strengthen digital skills and knowledge about the dynamic nature of datafication; and bringing the voices of diverse Canadian youth into policymaking to ensure that intersectional perspectives and digital justice are core components for a rights-respecting networked environment.
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