• May 2008
    M T W T F S S

IPPR report – Behind the Screen: The hidden life of youth online

Last July a group of us met with Kay Withers from the IPPR (Institutefor Public Policy Research) at Watershed, Bristol to feed into a reportshe was writing. We discussed how young people use digital media and thefunding that is available for community media organisations working withyoung people.

The report has now been published – it’s called “Behind the Screen: The hidden life of youth online”.

Here’s a link to it:

(You don’t have to register to download the report.)

We are mentioned on page 56.


It is great this report has been published. It says a lot of important things about our area of work and will be a useful reference. One point I feel it missed though is its assessment of the ‘youth led’ agenda. Encouragingly the report acknowledged that there’s a flaw in such funding schemes as they don’t accurately reflect the need for young people’s groups to have adult input for expertise and support.

What the report stopped short of saying however, was that such funding schemes are actually (knowingly or unknowingly) designed to undermine the same support and infrastructure that nurtured the groups of confident self-determinant young people in the first place. Akin to telling school students that if they pass their GCSEs, that they will be given funds to set up their own sixth form colleges – without any input from the schools they came from, or of any acknowledgment of the roles the schools played.

I think it’s good that funding sources are putting the wants of the young people before the notional whims of the adults, that absolutely fine, but for the projects to be robust, ‘honest’ and longlasting, funders shouldn’t just dangle money with principled caveats, but rather work harder to actually build relationships between organisations and young people, in the equally principled desire to build sustainability for the young people and the people who try to support them.

Obviously all my own humble opinion of course. Feel free to disagree! LOL

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