New research explores learning and activism in social media

New research by Dr Madeleine Le Bourdon examines how young people engage with global social justice issues through social media platforms.

Research by Dr Madeleine Le Bourdon has been published this month by the European Association of Development Institutes. ‘#GlobalJustice: Learning and activism through social media’ considers the ways in which young people are engaging with issues of global justice on and through social media platforms, and asks whether we can ‘classify these engagements as sites for informal learning’.

Dr Le Bourdon’s research was conducted through focus groups with teenagers across the UK, and yielded ‘three key findings’:

  • young people are extremely cautious about trusting information on social media;
  • exposure to lived-experience through social media creates affective learning;
  • and social media provides a catalyst for further learning and activism.

While the focus groups all emphasised the negative effects of social media on mental health, the research ultimately highlights the ways in which social media platforms can also have a positive impact on young people’s learning.