A REPORT prepared by the Prince’s Trust and Samsung has called for greater digital inclusion for Wales’ most disadvantaged young people
The research, carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), reveals that the disadvantages young people face offline are preventing them from making the most of the online world.
The report finds that a staggering 46% of young people who are currently not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in Wales believe that no one or almost no one can be trusted online
‘Slipping through the Net’, a report carried out by Dr Ellen Helsper at the LSE, reveals a clear distrust by Wales’ most disadvantaged young people of online interactions, which is a major obstacle in harnessing the d igital world to improve their situation.
While 53% of the UK’s disadvantaged young people believe that information found on the internet is ‘generally reliable’, 50% say that no one or almost no one could be trusted online.
While these young people were positive towards the potential benefits of ICTs (Information Communication Technology), they often ran into frustrations, from what they perceived as dehumanising experiences.
The report’s author, Dr Ellen J Helsper, Associate Professor in Media and Communications at LSE, said: “Whilst some of the young people we spoke to in the focus groups were resigned to the fact that this is an inevitable consequence of online interactions, many reported taking drastic action such as disconnecting altogether.”
Disadvantaged young people are using ICTs more to engage in employment related activities, yet they were less likely than their peers to succeed, even partially, through this medium (46% compared to 65% of their employed peers). Similarly, over half of these young people did not obtain a formal qualification through ICTs that they could not have obtained otherwise.
NEET young people expressed a preference to apply for jobs in person, rather than digitally, in particular because of the lack of follow up messages received from employers online. Many of these young people, who have a history with rejection, took this as a further setback.
One young person who took part in a focus group said: “I’m only going to find the local jobs and then I’ll go into the place and hand in my CV and stop there.”
Disadvantaged young people are also being held back in the digital world by their lack of softer social skills. Around 40% of them struggled with ‘netiquette’, that is decisions about their own behaviour or dealing with the negative behaviour of others online. The report shows that this issue also affects young people who are in education, employment or training.
Dr Helsper said: “Most of the time, the young people we interviewed in the focus group did not realise that these are skills which could be learnt and used to advance in life. Only more technical skills such as those taught in school were seen as requiring training.”
Only 17% of NEETs – arguably those who need it the most – had asked for help with using ICTs in the last three months. When they did ask, these young people relied on a narrower and less expert network of support often unable to teach them sustainable skills, instead of going to professionals such as help desks or teachers.
Philip Jones, Director of The Prince’s Trust Cymru, said: “We need to dispel the myth that all millennials know how to make the most of the digital world. Many disadvantaged young people, as this research shows, are not achieving positive outcomes online, in particular when it comes to education or employment. The findings show that a lot of young people struggle with social interactions online. We should ensure that these softer social skills, including safeguarding, are included in training programmes.”
The series of recommendations in the report also calls on employers to develop new digital services to avoid frustrating experiences, such as a lack of communication in particular with regards to online job applications.
New Children’s Book based on local fisherman
CHILDREN’S AUTHOR Natalie L Davies has written a story based on local man, Mickey Beechey, of Llangrannog.
Natalie said: “I’ve written a series of children’s books with the central character, the lovely ‘Mickey the Fisherman’. The first book is called ‘Pollution’, and is a bright colourful and fun book with a valuable message.”
The book is available to buy on Amazon in both paperback and kindle, and can be found at: mybook.to/mickeythefisherman.
Council supports the Learning Disabilities ‘My Charter’
CABINET members and senior officers in Ceredigion have signed ‘My Charter’. In doing so, Ceredigion County Council have become the first council to sign up to the charter. My Charter was written by people who have learning disabilities in West Wales.
The charter says that people who have learning disabilities want to have more chances in life, more choice and to be listened to. It also says that people who have learning disabilities want to be treated as adults, to be given dignity and respect and that their information is kept private.
Councillor Alun Williams is the Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services. He said: “People with learning disabilities have the same aspirations, hopes and feelings as everyone else. They deserve the same services and to be treated equally in a way that’s appropriate to their needs. I’m delighted that Ceredigion has become the first council to sign the charter, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this can positively influence the way our population of people with learning disabilities are treated in the future.”
The charter was developed by people who have learning disabilities from across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.
Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme
A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.
From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.
There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!
A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.
Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”
Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.
For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.
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