Haywood, Emily

Haywood, Emily
Start date:
October 2020
Research Topic:
Pre-teen childrens digital social worlds a participatory and creative exploration
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor EJ Renold and Professor Mathew Williams
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I would like to find out more about what children think about their digital worlds, how they build and form their relationships with each other using digital technology, how digital technology makes them feel (e.g., happy, safe, unsafe, scared, angry, confused), and what they would want to change in the future.

Most research focuses on teenagers and secondary school pupils rather than children and is often not from the child’s perspective but what adults think about them. So, I am interested in what children think about their own digital social lives.

A1 ā€“ To explore pre-teen perspectives and experiences of digital technology in their everyday lives.
A2 ā€“ To explore how pre-teen childrenā€™s peer relationships and new formations of gender and sexuality impact their experiences of the digital social world.
A3 ā€“ To understand how pre-teen childrenā€™s experiences, thoughts, and feelings of the digital world impact what they want their future digital social world to look like.

RQ1) What kinds of peer relationship cultures (e.g., interactions, group identities, friendships, boyfriends, girlfriends etc.) shape the everyday digital worlds of pre-teen children?
RQ2) What are pre-teen childrenā€™s thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the digital in their everyday lives? (e.g., what they enjoy, find fun, what problems they have, what makes them feel safe or unsafe)
RQ3) What do pre-teen children want to see happen differently or change in the future regarding their everyday digital worlds?

I will undertake this research through an exploratory qualitative research design, using participatory and creative methods, such as qualitative friendship group interviews and creative workshops.

This proposal addresses contemporary research gaps in a significantly under-researched area. This research is particularly relevant due to children now growing up in the digital age where they are ā€œencountering continual technological innovation which brings new risks and opportunitiesā€ (Stoilova, Livingstone and Nandagiri, 2019, p.4). Furthermore, the timing of this research gives an opportunity to support the introduction of the new statutory Relationships and Sex/uality Education (GOV.WALES., 2020) by outlining what addressing the relationships between e-safety and healthy relationships looks like within ā€˜age appropriateā€™ RSE. The findings of this research would be transferable because they can be applied to the Welsh and English context of statutory RSE provision.