Consent, Privacy & Our Data

Our research begins with young people

By Mabel Truong

The research team at the University of Sydney are currently carrying out focus groups with young people aged between 12 to 17 for our eSafety Emerging Online Safety project. We have carried out four focus groups so far and have heard from the voices of 27 young people. They have offered valuable insights into their unique, yet shared experiences with various online platforms. Each focus group consisted of six to seven young people from diverse backgrounds with some from regional NSW recruited from Student Edge’s and Youth Action’s databases and networks. These focus groups have been successful and participants have been active in group discussions.

Participants’ responses during the focus groups have indicated the level of awareness and concern young people appear to have on privacy issues through their attitudes towards consent, permission and the privacy bill. Young people in the focus groups were able to identify moments where they have felt unsafe online, with some able to identify methods of staying safe online. This research project aims to promote digital literacy for safe online experiences and identify what young people see as the most pressing online safety issues for them. There has been clear indication of particular sites and online situations where issues have come up over limited control over what they see and interact with on social media platforms. These focus groups have allowed the research team to gain an understanding of how young people of different ages use online platforms and how safe online experiences could be offered and further supported. Next, we hear from parents and carers! We look forward to hearing from the perspectives of parents and carers and see how that may compare to how young people view their parent’s role in their online experiences.