Haywood, Emily

Haywood, Emily
Start date:
October 2020
Research Topic:
MeToo and pre-teen relationship cultures: Investigating cyber-sexual harassment in the lives of 10-12 year olds
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor EJ Renold and Professor Mathew Williams
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This research seeks to explore not only image-based sexual harassment, but the ways in which childrenā€™s perspectives and experiences of sexual harassment in their peer relationship cultures traverse their online and offline worlds.

Current Aims:

  1. To understand pre-teen perspectives and experiences of cyber-sexual harassment (i.e. heterosexual, homophobic and transphobic harassment).
  2. To explore how new formations of gender and sexuality mediate childrenā€™s perspectives and experiences of cyber-sexual harassment and how these are mediated by social, cultural and embodied markers of difference (e.g. gender, sexuality, faith, social class, locale etc.)
  3. To use the research findings to create a co-produced educational resource with students and teachers that can inform the new statutory RSE curriculum starting in 2020 (England) and 2022 (Wales).

Cyber-sexual harassment within childrenā€™s online and offline peer relationship cultures is a much under-researched and timely area of study and can be explored through the following research questions and research design:

This research will address research questions in three main areas:

  1. 21st century relationship cultures in the digital world: looking at how pre-teens create and negotiate gender and sexuality identities and expressions across digital places and spaces, as well as what kinds of peer relationship cultures shape their everyday digital worlds.
  2. View and experiences of cyber-sexual harassment: this will look at what pre-teens views are of what constitutes cyber-sexual harassment, what contexts, places and spaces they experience cyber-sexual harassment, and how their views and experiences are mediated by sex, gender, sexuality, social class, ethnicity, disability etc.
  3. Informing new statutory RSE provision: this is used to gather the messages regarding cyber-sexual harassment in childrenā€™s peer relationship cultures that pre-teens think need to be heard and actioned, with the aim to inform a co-produced resource to support the new statutory RSE.

I will undertake this research through an exploratory qualitative research design, with the use of participatory and creative methods, such as qualitative friendship group interviews and focus group workshops. This will Enable the topic of sexual harassment to be understood from childrenā€™s own situated experience and multiple meaning making practices (Pihkala and Huuki, 2020).

Proposed Impact:
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.

GOV.WALES. (2020). Curriculum for Wales | GOV.WALES. [online] Available at: https://gov.wales/curriculum-for-wales [Accessed 31 Jan. 2020].

Pihkala, S. and Huuki, T. (2020). How A Hashtag Matters ā€“ Crafting Response(-Abilities) through Research-Activism on Sexual Harassment in Pre-Teen Peer Cultures. Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology, 10(2-3), pp.242-258.