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Palgrave Macmillan

Foster Youth in the Mediasphere

Lived Experience and Digital Lives in the Australian Out-Of-Home Care System

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • The first study of social media and development of ontological security in Australian youth in foster care
  • Delineates how social media can help support belonging and resilience for foster youth
  • Contrasts mainstream media's representation of foster youth as the 'other' to self representation via social media

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Table of contents (7 chapters)


About this book

This book considers the impact of digital media and technology on lived experience for young people in foster care. While the extent and intricacies of foster care—known as out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia, where this study takes place—are not widely understood by the general public, youth in care might struggle to construct a personal identity that goes beyond reflecting the stereotypes and stigma by which they are often recognised. In today’s digital environment, media can play a significant role in any individual’s developing sense of self, identity, and belonging. Deitz and Sheridan Burns examine OOHC through the lens of networked media environments and investigate the conditions that encourage belonging and resilience in order to establish the role that digital technology can play in supporting those conditions for individuals, family networks, and the care sector.


Foster Youth in the Media Sphere is an important book for anyone connected with foster care. It highlights how we risk repeating harms of the past—failing to equip children with key life skills and perpetuating negative stereotypes about foster care—unless we grapple with the challenges of the digital age.”
Nell Musgrove, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Humanities, Australian Catholic University

"This book provides a novel and important exploration of digital media and the way it impacts how youth in out-of-home care understand, create, and express their individual identities and experience belonging. It offers hope that digital media can be used to promote healing and growth for this marginalised group."
Stacy Lee Blythe, Associate Professor, Deputy Director, Translational Research and Social Innovation (TReSI), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Australia

Authors and Affiliations

  • Western Sydney University, Rydalmere, Australia

    Milissa Deitz

  • Western Sydney University, Newcastle, Australia

    Lynette Sheridan Burns

About the authors

Milissa Deitz is Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University, Australia, where she teaches courses in communication, digital media, and creative writing. Her previously published books include Watch This Space: The Future of Australian Journalism (2010), as well as the novel Bloodlust (1999) and non-fiction title My Life as a Side Effect (2011). Her research interests include grief, identity, and family; voice and the marginalised within digital storytelling; and young people, wellbeing, and technology.

Lynette Sheridan Burns is Adjunct Professor of Journalism at Western Sydney University, Australia. She is widely published in the fields of journalism and journalism education, with her book Understanding Journalism now in its third edition (2018). Her research interests include the impact of media reporting on social minorities, including indigenous Australians and those living withmental illness. She is a former President and Life Member of the Journalism Education and Research Association.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Foster Youth in the Mediasphere

  • Book Subtitle: Lived Experience and Digital Lives in the Australian Out-Of-Home Care System

  • Authors: Milissa Deitz, Lynette Sheridan Burns

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-17952-5Published: 17 November 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-17953-2Published: 16 November 2022

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 147

  • Number of Illustrations: 4 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Education, general, Social Media, Social Care, Children, Youth and Family Policy, Sociology of Family, Youth and Aging, Media Sociology

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