2.8 million for research into the influence of digital media on equality of opportunity and youth development

Together with a large consortium that she is leading, Liesbeth Kester has received a 2.8M Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) Youth and Digitalisation grant for the project: Navigating the cross-contextual media landscape: Children’s and adolescent’s digital media use, development and (in)equality. At UU, a PhD candidate and postdoc will be hired, and colleagues Ina Koning (ISW) and Helen Vossen (Ped) are also involved in the consortium

Summary of the project

Today’s children and youth (C&Y) are immersed in digital media in the full media landscape that surrounds them across contexts. The Covid pandemic revealed inequal opportunities for C&Y to use digital media. There are differences in digital media access, motivation/skills to use digital media, and support of key persons (e.g., parents/teachers/peers) herein. Understanding mechanisms in C&Y’s digital media use related to their development helps them and key persons to act in evidence-informed ways to reduce inequality. A better understanding of these factors is especially important during transition periods (i.e., from kindergarten to primary school or the early years in secondary school). During these periods, deviations in development could strongly impact C&Y’s opportunities. Our aim is that scientists, parents, professionals and C&Y understand the mechanisms that influence the relations between C&Y's digital media use, their development and opportunities. Furthermore, we want to develop skills and tools to support a positive impact of C&Y’s digital media use on development and equality of opportunities. This research project is innovative in taking the full cross-contextual media landscape into account, studying the impact of digital media use on development and equality of opportunities in a longitudinal perspective, at cognitive, social and identity level, combining longitudinal studies with experimental and/or ESM studies for insight in real-time processes in the daily lives of adolescents, including the role of key persons, individual dispositions and background factors in development and, adopting a knowledge-chain-wide research approach that combines fundamental, applied and practice-oriented research resulting in tested interventions/tools for practice.