Young Canadians in a Wireless World
Young Canadians in a Wireless World (YCWW) – formerly known as Young Canadians in Wired World – is Canada’s longest running, and most comprehensive research study on young people’s attitudes and behaviours regarding the internet, surveying over 20,000 parents, teachers, and students since 2000.
This most recent phase of YCWW began with a name change to the project – from Young Canadians in a Wired World to Young Canadians in a Wireless World. In 2019, findings from qualitative focus groups with parents and youth highlighted what is needed to foster collective online resiliency. In 2021 we conducted a survey with 1,058 students in grades 4 to 11 from across Canada. Findings were released in 2022-2023 in a series of reports including: online harms, privacy and consent, online meanness and cruelty, sexting, digital media literacy, and concluding with trends and recommendations.
In 2011-2014 MediaSmarts conducted interviews with teachers and students ages 11-17 and a classroom survey with 5,436 students in grades 4-11 across the country. In this phase, adults were beginning to feel overwhelmed by the reported dangers their children faced online, however, youth indicated online harms were much less worrisome than adults feared. Youth felt they were being ‘spied on’ by family and teachers and that this kind of surveillance made it difficult for them to receive help from adults when needed.
In 2004-2005, MediaSmarts conducted focus groups with children and parents ages 11-17 and a survey with 5,000 students in grades 4-11 across the country. Youth participants enjoyed online activities, but they were becoming aware of how often they were being monitored by adults and corporations. In response, they developed several strategies to keep their online lives private. Adults, on the other hand, were beginning to conclude that young people were largely “wasting their time” playing games and chatting (precisely the things that drew youth online to begin with).
In 2000-2001, MediaSmarts conducted 1,081 telephone interviews with parents, focus groups with children ages 9-16, and a survey with almost 6,000 students in grades 4-11 across Canada. Parents were excited about the prospects of having their children use new technologies; they tended to exercise a benign neglect online, trusting their children to come to them if they ran into problems. Youth felt that online media were completely private because adults didn’t have the skills to find them there and they enjoyed a wide range of creative uses including identity play.