FSD3096 Youth Media Participation in Argentina, Egypt, Finland and India 2009-2011

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  • Kotilainen, Sirkku (University of Jyväskylä)


adolescents, communications, internet, mass media, media literacy, press, social interaction, social networks


The aim of this study was to chart the media participation of adolescents in Argentina, Egypt, Finland and India. The questions surveyed personal, social and public use of media as well as media literacy.

First, the respondents were asked what media equipment (e.g. newspapers, radio, television, mobile phone, music players, video game consoles, computers) they had access to at home or somewhere else, and how often the respondents used them. They were also asked if a variety of media-related services were offered in their community/neighbourhood (e.g. libraries, movie theatres, internet cafés). In addition, the survey examined respondents' opinions on a variety of statements relating to matters such as media skills, rules for media use in the family, interest in media content, and fandom.

Next, the respondents were asked which media they used for information-seeking regarding schoolwork, practical everyday matters such as timetables or the weather, current events and politics, puberty and sexuality, products and services, and which media they used for e.g. contacting relatives and friends, searching for a romantic partner, or contacting celebrities. They were also asked if they used media together with their families, friends, partners or virtual friends.

It was asked if the respondents published their opinions via different media channels about social, political, cultural and environmental matters or human rights matters. The respondents were also asked if they would have liked to publish their opinions more often and why they had not done so. In addition to publishing opinions, they were asked if they published their own creative content, such as text, music, drawings, videos or computer programmes.

Regarding media literacy, opinions were examined on the reliability and truthfulness of news articles, television programmes, internet pages, and advertisements. It was also surveyed whether the respondents thought that young people should be discussed more often in the media. They were also asked if the media often portrayed a distorted image of foreign countries and cultures.

Next, the respondents' interest in a variety of themes was examined (both in "factual" and in "fictional" media), along with whether they published opinions or content regarding these themes or discussed them with other people (the themes included e.g. news, politics and society, the environment, human rights, sports, beauty and fashion, art, science, history, technology, and celebrities). The respondents were also asked if they had ever been interviewed for a newspaper article, a radio or television programme or some other medium, and to what extent it was possible for young people to have their opinions heard. The survey also charted respondents' experiences of limitations set on media use by e.g. governmental authorities or legislation, religion, school, family or friends.

Finally, the respondents' internet use was surveyed with regard to how often they used the internet in different places (e.g. at school, at home, at a friend's home, in public or on a mobile phone) and for different purposes (e.g. information-seeking, e-mail, shopping, instant messaging, social media, gaming, or watching videos/movies). The respondents' mobile phone use was also examined with regard to how often they used a mobile phone for phone calls, SMS messages, gaming, listening to music or radio, using the internet, taking photos and watching videos, among others.

Background variables included age, gender, country, type of neighbourhood, parents' occupations (categorised), ethnic group as well as the language spoken at home and the language used for responding to the questionnaire (mother tongue/English).

Study description in machine readable DDI-C 2.5 format

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