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Bridging the Digital Divide in Australia: The Potential Implications for the Mental Health of Young People Experiencing Marginalisation

Bridging the Digital Divide in Australia: The Potential Implications for the Mental Health of Young People Experiencing Marginalisation
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Author(s): Jane Burns (University of Melbourne, Australia), Michelle Blanchard (University of Melbourne, Australia) and Atari Metcalf (Inspire Foundation, Australia)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 22
Source title: Handbook of Research on Overcoming Digital Divides: Constructing an Equitable and Competitive Information Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Enrico Ferro (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Italy), Yogesh K. Dwivedi (Swansea University, UK), J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico) and Michael D. Williams (Swansea University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch006

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Abstract

The rapid uptake of technology offers potentially innovative approaches to promoting mental health amongst young people, addressing a significant public health challenge. The advent of Web 2.0 has seen a shift from text heavy content to the development of communities that foster connectivity. This area of research, its potential to engage young people at risk of isolation, and the mental health benefits it may have, has received little attention. This chapter considers evidence regarding technology’s role in mental health promotion, particularly for marginalized young people. Results are presented from an Australian study, “Bridging the Digital Divide,” which investigated technology access and utilization by young people experiencing marginalization. Finally, Australian policy regarding the digital divide and Internet safety is reviewed. The authors conclude that policy responses should move beyond just access and safety and explore innovative ways of ensuring safe and supportive online communities accessible for all young people.

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