This WP aims to gain actionable insights to promote digital literacy among young people and facilitate reflection upon digital rights, specifically what is championed by iRights as the Right to Know:
‘Children and young people have the right to know who is holding or profiting from their information, what their information is being used for and whether it is being copied, sold or traded. It must be right that children and young people are only asked to hand over personal data when they have the capacity to understand they are doing so and what their decision means. ….’
The work will (1) identify and study the socio-psychological impact of personalized filtering and (2) help young people to understand and regulate the trade-off between ease-of-use and freedom-of-choice when they use personalized information filtering or recommender systems.
We will apply an innovative methodology for youth engagement called Youth Juries which has been co-created with iRights and successfully applied previously. The juries are highly interactive focus groups with an explicit objective of arriving at clear recommendations regarding digital rights. They use dramatized scenarios in the methodological research tradition of using vignettes as prompts to elicit reflective responses from participants. The scripts for the dramatized scenarios will source ideas from investigations into sense-making practices during online browsing (WP 3), expert analysis of the fundamental principles of recommender systems (WP 2), engagement with the broad community of stakeholders (WP 4), and are co-produced with young people to explore their personal concerns and online experiences. By co-producing the scenarios with young people we enhance engagement opportunities, making them more “real”, easier to relate to, and consequently, maximising youth involvement in discussions. The aim of the ‘juries’ is not only to find out what participants (i.e. the “jurors”) think and feel about the experiences of the digital world, but to discuss i) the reasons they give for adopting particular perspectives and positions; and ii) the extent to which their perspectives and positions change, individually and collectively, through the jury process. The jury session is typically led by a trained facilitator, who provides a safe space for participants to express themselves freely and critically, while demystifying issues around technology, recommender systems and algorithm bias.
In year 1, the ‘juries’ will focus on mapping of, i) primary use-cases where youths encounter algorithmic information management, ii) the main concerns they have when interacting with such systems and iii) the conditions that determine the level of critical inquiry they are willing to invest in interacting with online systems. The results from this mapping exercise will feed directly into the work on WP 2, WP 3 and WP 4.
In year 2, the ‘juries’ will build on the year one results from all four project WPs to focus on co-development of educational materials that can speak-to and engage the youth in developing a healthily critical attitude towards online information provision.
In addition to shaping the techniques in WP 2 and providing material for WP 3 and WP 4, key outputs of this WP will be:
- Education materials for teaching critical attitude towards digital information systems.
- A policy brief reporting on teaching of critical inquiry of algorithm mediated information.
Academic publications on ‘digital native’ interactions with information control algorithms.