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Navigating Digital Landscapes: Exploring Socio-Digital Inequalities Among Youth

Navigating Digital Landscapes: Exploring Socio-Digital Inequalities Among Youth

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The seminar brings together national and international researchers to discuss socio-digital inequalities among youth. It is open to public, and no registration is required.

The widespread consumption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and digital media among young adults has fostered a misleading assumption encapsulated in the terms such as "digital natives," suggesting that young people, growing up surrounded by digital technologies, inherently possess the skills to navigate and use digital platforms.

Research debunked this notion reveals that digital behaviors are heavily influenced by socio-demographic factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, as well as vulnerable circumstances like lack of social network or non-supportive familial environments. In this seminar, we will delve into research that examines how socio-economic backgrounds or experiences of social exclusion influence the digital practices, strategies, and challenges faced by youth.

We will discuss how socio-digital inequalities manifest among certain groups of youths and explore the potential mechanisms through which these disparities are perpetuated. The seminar is organized as part of the project DIGcapabilities: Fostering digital capabilities among youth.



Tonje Fyhn, Department head for Welfare, Work, and Health, NORCE



Ellen J. Helsper, Professor of Digital Inequalities, LSE, UK

A socio-digital ecology approach to understanding digital inequalities amongst youth

Research into digital inequalities has evolved from focussing on access to examining inequalities in outcomes across a variety of domains from economic to social wellbeing. That is, questions are being asked about why having positive experiences and avoiding negative outcomes in increasingly digital societies turns out to be related to historical inequalities in marginalisation and vulnerability between social groups. This presentation argues that to fully understand these inequalities amongst youth, we need to look at the socio-digital ecologies in which they grew up and in which they currently live to consider how this shape their practices, motivations, attitudes and dispositions.


Gilda Seddighi, Senior Researcher, NORCE

Intersectional perspectives on narratives of digital literacies among vulnerable youth in Norway: Insights from welfare service providers

This presentation discusses how the welfare service providers of youth not in education, employment or training narrate the digital literacies of this group of youth. Drawing from an ecological and intersectional approach on socio-digital inequalities, this presentation sheds light on how welfare service providers navigate the uncertainty surrounding the concept of digital literacies and the absence of guidelines supporting these youth, which may inadvertently lead to new forms of exclusion and invisibility among some youth.

09.50-10.20 Discussion

10.20-10.40 Break


Maria José Brites and Teresa Sofia Castro, Associate professor, Lusófona University and CICANT, Portugal

Digital Rights, institutionalised youths, and contexts of inequalities

This presentation discusses digital rights and media literacy in the context of socio‐digital inequalities experienced by institutionalised youths. In the case of these digitally disconnected youths in detention centres, there is evidence of multiple life‐course disadvantages that will resonate throughout their future lives. They see their present and future lives deeply challenged by the fast pace of technological innovation and its social impacts while living in environments that we see as digital deserts.


Mehri Shekh Agai, PhD candidate, Department of Information Science and Media, University of Bergen

A processual perspective on youth’s digital disconnection

This presentation will delve into the concept of digital disconnection and how it takes form in the lives of youth. The presentation draws insights from a diary study about digital disconnection among young people in Norway. The focus will remain on understanding digital disconnection as an integral part of how young people navigate the digital landscape and how their background shapes this navigation.

11.20 -11.40

Christina Ortner, Professor of Online Communication, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

Insights into digital skill development: Findings on migrant adolescents in Austria

This presentation will discuss selected findings of a mixed method study on socially disadvantaged adolescents (aged 12-18) in Austria, with a focus on the migrants included in the sample. It will examine how these young people develop digital skills, providing insights into their conditions for and ways of learning in the context of family, school, and peers.

11.40-12.15 Discussion

12.15-13.00 Lunch


John Magnus Ragnhildson Dahl, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen

The only foreigner in school? Performing Muslim masculinities online

This presentation reports from an ethnographic fieldwork among 16–20-year-old teenage boys in Bergen, and discusses one particular boy, Mohammad. Mohammad has a background from an Arab country and is practicing Muslim, and is according to himself the only “real foreigner” in his year in the school. Mohammad has chosen to embrace this difference, and refers actively to both his migrant background, Arab ethnicity and Muslim religiousity in the social media content that he produces. In this presentation, I will discuss how digital technology are combined with a repertoire of masculinities by Mohammad to make his minority status into an asset – but also with a critical perspective on why this performance seems necessary to him in the first place.


Rebecca L. Radlick, Senior Researcher NORCE

«Don’t replace people with an app!» Digitally augmented mentoring for multicultural youth

Mentoring for both social and labor market inclusion of vulnerable groups has become more prevalent in Norway. However, digital mentoring platforms are relatively new, also in an international context. We present results from an innovation project which adapted an e-health platform to a mentoring program, where a key program objective was strengthening multicultural youths’ social capital. Two key questions are: 1) What needs do multicultural young people have for digital tools in the context of mentoring, and 2) How do they experience using a digital mentoring platform developed based on these articulated needs?


Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Professor of Learning Technology and Communication, The Open University, UK

Experiences with digital services among minoritised ethnic populations in the UK

In this talk I will present the PRIME project (Protecting Minority Ethnic Communities Online), funded by UK Research and Innovation and led by Heriot-Watt University in partnership with several other UK universities including The Open University. PRIME aims to deliver innovative harm-reduction interventions, processes and technologies which will transform digital services, especially in the areas of health, social housing and energy, and create safer online spaces for the UK’s minoritised ethnic populations. The project has engaged with several community organisations across the UK, who have informed the research, facilitated access to research participants, taken part in workshops, and will be involved in dissemination of project outcomes. Empirical data on minoritised individuals’ experiences and concerns has been collected via a survey and over 100 interviews. I will share some of the project’s qualitative research findings, as well as a few of our practices and challenges in this project.

14.00-14.30 Discussion and concluding remarks

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Gilda Seddighi

Senior Researcher - Bergen

+47 56 10 76 67
+47 400 65 705


Friday 3. may 2024
at 09.00 - 14.30


Nygårdsgaten 112, 5008 Bergen - Undervisningsrom G109



Research Groups

Working life

Research areas

Social Sciences