Young people’s creative online practices in the context of school community

Special issue: Children in cyberspace: Opportunities, risks and safety

This article concentrates on young people’s creative online practices, such as making videos, writing lifestyle blogs, and engaging in online role-playing games. It also looks at their relations to different audiences, privacy, and the school community as a central social environment in young people’s everyday life.

The research was conducted as an ethnographic study in one public secondary school in Finland during the academic year 2009–2010. The ethnography is preceded by a quantitative survey on media use among school students (N = 305). EU Kids Online research data (N = 1012) regarding Finland was used in the analysis of young people’s internet use as well.

The internet offers different possibilities for young people to publish, share, and participate online. Although the study shows that the majority of young people are not especially eager to share their creative productions on the internet, some of the teens studied had a strong interest in creative media production and online activities. The case study shows that young people’s creative online activities vary from individual activities, such as school-community–based communal activities, to collaborative activities with peers.

In order to control their privacy online, young people try to manage their self-presentations, their audiences, and their spaces where they share their productions. It also seems that active and creative internet users get more support for internet safety from their peers and teachers.

youth; creative online practices; school; publicity; privacy
Author biography

Reijo Kupiainen

Author photo Reijo Kupiainen (PhD) is a professor of Theory of Visual Culture at the Aalto University in Finland and adjunct professor of Media Education at the Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU). His research has focused on media literacy, media education, children, young people and the internet, and visual culture. His is an author of Media and Digital Literacies in Secondary School (Peter Lang, 2013).

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