Ian Simkins & Sandrine Depeau; Co-convenors of Children, Youth & Environments Network, IAPS

Janet Loebach & Kate Bishop; Co-chairs of Children, Youth & Environments Network, EDRA

Gary Gumpert & Susan Drucker; Co-Chairs of Communications Networks, EDRA & IAPS

This symposium is proposed as a joint session of the Children, Youth and Environments and the Communication Place and Technology Networks of IAPS. We are also proposing this as the second component of a unique two-part series initiated with a full-day Intensive at the 2014 EDRA conference to take place approximately one month prior to IAPS23. It is hoped that this two-part session draws together researchers and designers from two strong network groups with common interest, as well as strengthen the ties between the networks of the sister organizations.

There is little doubt that digital technologies and media are enmeshed in the lives of most children and youth, particularly in developed countries. The availability of digital technologies has also opened up new avenues for research conducted with children and youth. In this two-part series, bridging both conferences, we propose to explore the role of technology, including digital devices as well as associated social media and other applications, in the behaviour, communication, health and environments of contemporary children and youth. Some of the issues to be explored, via presentation and group discussion, include: How have digital technologies and applications altered the behavioural rhythms and geographies of children and youth? What does it change in social networks of children? Can these tools improve children’s awareness and engagement with both local and global environmental issues? What is the impact of issues like cyber bullying on children’s socio-environmental experience? Are some groups (e.g. low-income families, recent immigrants) being marginalized or penalized by the lack of digital technology at their disposal and how does this impact their experience of place? What is the relationship between children, technology and place? How does it vary in relation to children’s socio-economic status, cultural background, geographic locale, age and gender?

Increased availability and affordability of digital technologies has also allowed for more extensive use of portable devices in research. The possibilities and pitfalls of employing digital tools in research with youth will also be explored. How do such devices provide better direct or real-time monitoring of behaviour, experience and perceptions, and improve research or design outcomes? Do outputs from digital devices contravene the rights and privacy of children? Does the use of digital technologies in research or design improve or alter our engagement with children? Can such tools transfer more control into the hands of child participants? Does the use of technology in children’s research support a more child-centred, more user-friendly, more efficient, and/or more reliable research experience, if so, how is this achieved?

Presentations and discussions will commence during the EDRA Intensive in May 2014, and will culminate in a group discussion to summarize thoughts and strategies to guide future research/design priorities and procedures in this area using a facilitated NWAR (Now, Wish, Action, Review) process; a recently developed component of the experiemics participation methodology (Thwaites, Mathers and Simkins, 2013).

We propose that this IAPS symposium would proceed as follows

Part I: Condensed summary of papers delivered at EDRA Intensive. Presenters: Janet Loebach & Susan Drucker

Part II: Presentation of results of facilitated NWAR discussion. Presenters: Ian Simkins & Gary Gumpert

Part III: Facilitated group discussion re: research/design priorities. Presenters: Co-chairs

The results of the final discussion of future research/design priorities and procedures will then be shared back with the participants of the EDRA Intensive with the hope of inspiring all participants and building new collaborations both across networks and sister organizations.

The symposium will also inform the agenda for the two IAPS network meetings which will take place during the conference week.