YouthNet is undertaking an innovative piece of research focusing on how young people’s online help-seeking behaviour varies according to which devices are being used, which officially kicked off last week, when we ran the first of four online focus groups with young people.
It was great to get young people’s views in this area and participants were really engaged in the discussion. The feedback was really interesting and below is just a flavour of our first focus group told us.
A key point raised was about the technical barriers of using mobile phones to access the internet: issues included websites not always working properly on mobiles, small screen size, long loading time. In this respect, PCs are better suited to navigating online and also they allow the user to do multiple things simultaneously: contacting people through social media, looking for information on different tabs etc. However, these technical constraints are often overcome by the fact that mobile phones allow access to online information here and now: if young people have an urgent need they simply use the device which is most accessible to them.
For example, respondents were asked whether they’d follow a discussion on a forum on their mobile phone when out and about or whether they’d wait to go back home and use the PC. Respondents recognised it’s easier to follow a forum on a PC, but they also admitted they’d use their mobile phone because “it’d be still better than nothing” and that “if I am out and about I’d have no choice”.
This is the first stage of the research, which will be run in these stages:
(1) Establishing Insights – exploring young people’s behaviours and attitudes in relation to mobile devices
(2) Co-creation – developing and testing innovative ideas with young people around how to deliver information through mobile devices
(3) Dissemination – YouthNet and the Nominet Trust sharing knowledge from the research with other organisations to highlight young people’s needs
These first insights into how young people use different devices to access help and information are still in the preliminary stages of the research and will be further explored. However I thought it would be nice to share a first glimpse of the research. Watch this space for further update on the research.