Last April, a successful series of iRights Youth Juries were delivered in different locations -London, Leeds and Nottingham- to put the internet on trial. The aim of those juries was not only to find out what young people think and feel about the experiences of the digital world, but to discover what shapes their thinking and whether they are open to changing their minds in the light of discussion with peers or exposure to new information.
During the iRights Youth Juries, participants put the Internet on trial by deliberating on a series of real-life digital scenarios, previously produced in partnership with young people and brought to life by live actors. To work in equal partnership with children and young people is vital to further develop and improve the iRights Youth Juries ensuring scenarios illustrate real issues and experiences to which young people can relate to and maximise their ecological validity. Working with young people as equal partners is also important to guarantee participation and to ensure that the language used to dramatize the scenarios resonates with their vocabulary and expressions. Because scenarios have to be co-produced with local young people, these are idiosyncratic and sensitive to cultural differences as they represent a specific and distinct point in time, avoiding universalistic terms. In this way, the scenarios developed for these first and second wave of iRights Youth Juries will differ from those developed in the near future as smart phone applications, computer games and lexicon around technologies rapidly evolve with time.
During July, more than 100 young people from Nottingham participated in a second wave of iRights Youth Juries held at Nottingham University in the Senate Chamber and Committee room located in the Trent building. In collaboration with Nottingham City Council and The National Citizen Services, together with local academies, secondary schools and colleges nine iRigths Youth Juries were delivered as part of a comparative study.
This second wave of iRights Youth Juries explores a new methodological approach to the juries by presenting short video clips professionally produced for such purpose instead of live acting. While the presence of live actors in all the previous juries has added an exciting dimension to the deliberative process, the high costs and complex logistics involved minimize opportunities for wider engagement and dissemination among children and young people. The short video clip format could offer a plausible alternative with additional benefits including the possibility to bring the iRights youth juries to schools, colleges and youth clubs during school term.
Similar to live acting, the short video clips served to highlight key themes and issues, punctuate discussions so that participants can take a break from talking, elicit reflective responses, and offer participants a chance to engage in the research process via a visual form of entertainment.
We are currently comparing the data from the first wave of juries collected in April (Easter holidays) with the data from the second wave of juries collected in July (school term) to further understand the cost-effectiveness of live acting vs. short video clips. Results from a pre- and post- jury survey and semi-structured interview will be disseminated in September 2015.
Just to conclude, read below feedback from jury participants:
‘I think it was a good experience, I learnt a lot about the Internet. I would not change a thing [about the iRights Youth Juries], I think it was quite interactive and pretty good with the videos, yeap.’
‘I learnt quite a few things about how technology can affect our lives [Right to Safety and Support].’
‘It made me think about how it would be if the Internet would not be around, how different it would be.’
‘I like the way that they [the videos] made me more aware about the risks of the Internet. I like the way they made everybody involved in the conversation by engaging us all with questions that we can discuss with each other […] they gave us a structure to have interesting conversation to have about the dangers of the Internet. It was a good experience and I would not change anything.’
‘I learnt how to take content off the Internet [Right to Remove], that was pretty useful.’