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Foster Youth in the Mediasphere

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Foster Youth in the Mediasphere

Abstract

This chapter is an introduction to the ongoing challenges facing the out-of-home care system in Australia. It describes how children may be moved between multiple placements before they “age-out” of the system at 18, and that the resultant fragmented personal narrative puts such children at risk by predisposing them to multiple mental, physical, and social problems. It argues that disjointed early life experiences of young people in care often undermine a child’s sense of identity and belonging, and this is further compounded by poor recordkeeping and loss of official identity documents. It raises the question whether digital technologies can be used to support multimodal narrative productions and how contemporary storytelling can be used to explore issues of gatekeeping and access—that is, who has the authority to tell stories and when. The chapter also argues that the ability to proficiently and safely navigate online spaces needs to be recognised as an important life skill. A system which tries to keep children in care safe by simply denying them access to social media does not prepare them for the world they will enter upon leaving care. A digital life can also increase a much-needed connectedness for children and young people in out-of-home care generally, as well as improve connections with biological family.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Nell Musgrove and Deirde Michell. The Slow Evolution of Fostercare in Australia: Just Like a Family Cham: Springer International Publishing AG, 2018, p90.

  2. 2.

    Joseph J. McDowall, “Experiencing Out-of-home Care in Australia: The Views of Children and Young People (CREATE Report Card 2013)” (Sydney: CREATE Foundation, 2013), 24.

  3. 3.

    Deitz, personal email correspondence, 2021.

  4. 4.

    Melanie Kimball, “From Folktales to Fiction: Orphan Characters in Children’s Literature”, Library Trends, 47.3 (1999): 558–61; 559.

  5. 5.

    Ibid, 559.

  6. 6.

    Ursula K. Le Guin and Susan Wood, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. 1st U.S. ed. (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992), 3.

  7. 7.

    Margaret R. Somers, “The Narrative Constitution of Identity: A Relational and Network Approach”, Theory and Society, 23.5 (1994): 605–49; p605 http://www.jstor.org/stable/658090

  8. 8.

    Jennifer Lehmann, “Children Australia Editorial: The Importance of Developing Narrative Capacity”, Children Australia, 43.1 (2018): 1–6; 2.

  9. 9.

    Mary E. Rauktis, Rachael A. Fusco, Helen Cahalane, Ivory Kierston Bennett, and Shauna M. Reinhart. “‘Try to Make it Seem like We’re Regular Kids’: Youth Perceptions of Restrictiveness in Out-of-home Care”, Children and Youth Services Review, 33.7 (2011): 1224–1233; p1229; Musgrove and Michell, The Slow Evolution of Fostercare in Australia: Just Like a Family, 198; Kalynda Powell, Elizabeth Huxley, and Michelle L. Townsend, “Mental Health Help Seeking in Young People and Carers in Out of Home Care: A Systematic Review”, Children and Youth Services Review, 127 (2021): 106088. p1–10. p2.

  10. 10.

    Richard Rose, Life Story Therapy with Traumatised Children; A Model of Practice (London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012), p10.

  11. 11.

    Musgrove and Michell, The Slow Evolution of Foster Care, 3.

  12. 12.

    #Youth Now: Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme of Youth for Action. General Assembly of the United Nations. Accessed 10 September 2021. https://www.un.org/pga/69/youth/

  13. 13.

    Youth Policy Labs, From Rhetoric to Action: Towards an Enabling Environment in the Sustainable Development Goals. The Case for Space Initiative (Berlin: Youth Policy Press, 2015).

  14. 14.

    The Wellbeing Health & Youth Centre of Research Excellence in Adolescent Health, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), is an Australia-wide network of inter-disciplinary researchers committed to championing good health in the Teenage Decade.

  15. 15.

    Juliet Gainsborough, Scandalous Politics: Child Welfare Policy in the States (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010), 163.

  16. 16.

    Musgrove and Michelle, The Slow Evolution of Foster Care, 3.

  17. 17.

    Candace Sutton, “Exclusive: Bombshell Documents Lift Lid on William Tyrell Case”, Daily Mail Australia, 7 May 2022. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10780909/Explosive-new-details-William-Tyrrells-foster-parents-lift-lid-mystery-case.html. Accessed 9 May 2022.

  18. 18.

    T. Swist, P. Collin, J. McCormack, and A. Third, “Social Media and the Wellbeing of Children and Young People: A Literature Review”, prepared for the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Perth, Western Australia, 2015), p1–73. http://www.uws.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/930502/Social_media_and_children_and_young_people.pdf

  19. 19.

    Ibid, 7–9.

  20. 20.

    Clifton Westly Evers, Kath Albury, Paul Byron, and Kate Crawford, “Young People, Social Media, Social Network Sites and Sexual Health Communication in Australia: ‘This Is Funny, You Should Watch It’”, International Journal of Communication (Online) (2013) p263–280: p263.

  21. 21.

    Jenna L. Clark, Sara B. Algoe, and Melanie C. Green, “Social Network Sites and Well-Being: The Role of Social Connection”, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27.1 (2018): 32-37; Dohyun Ahn and Dong-Hee Shin, “Is the Social Use of Media for Seeking Connectedness or For Avoiding Social Isolation? Mechanisms Underlying Media Use and Subjective Wellbeing”, Computers in Human Behavior, 29, (2013): 2453-2462; doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.12.022; Nicole Ellison and danah m. boyd, “Sociality Through Social Network Sites”, in The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies, ed. William H. Dutton (Oxford, England, Oxford University Press, 2013).

  22. 22.

    Rose, Life Story Therapy, p18–20.

  23. 23.

    Tanya Notley, and Jo Tacchi, “Online Youth Networks: Researching the Experiences of ‘Peripheral’ Young People in Using New Media Tools for Creative Participation and Representation”, 3CMedia: Journal of Community, Citizen’s and Third Sector Media 1 (2005).

  24. 24.

    Mesfin A. Bekalu, Rachel F. McCloud, and K. Viswanath, “Association of Social Media Use With Social Well-Being, Positive Mental Health, and Self-Rated Health: Disentangling Routine Use From Emotional Connection to Use”, Health Education & Behavior, 46.2(suppl December 2019): 69S–80S. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198119863768

  25. 25.

    Benjamin Hanckel and Shiva Chandra, “How young LGBTQIA+ people used social media to thrive during COVID lockdowns”, The Conversation, March 15, 2021. https://theconversation.com/how-young-lgbtqia-people-used-social-media-to-thrive-during-covid-lockdowns-156130

  26. 26.

    Ibid.

  27. 27.

    boyd, danah. “Why Youth Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life”, in Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. Edited by David Buckingham. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 119–142. doi: 10.1162/dmal.9780262524834.119

    Livingstone, Sonia. “Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers’ Use of Social Networking Sites for Intimacy, Privacy and Self-Expression”. New Media & Society 10, no. 3 (2008): 393–411. p394.

  28. 28.

    Theresa Saulter, “‘What’s on your mind/’ Writing on Facebook as a Tool for Self-formation”, New Media & Society, 16.5 (2014): 823–839,823.

  29. 29.

    Ibid, 284.

  30. 30.

    Ibid, 284.

  31. 31.

    d. boyd, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (Harvard and London: Yale University Press, 2014), 17.

  32. 32.

    Ibid., 18.

  33. 33.

    Ibid., 5.

  34. 34.

    boyd, It’s Complicated, 19–21.

  35. 35.

    Milissa Deitz, Tanya Notley, Michelle Catanzaro, Amanda Third and Katrina Sandbach “Emotion Mapping: Using Participatory Media to Support Young People’s Participation in Urban Design”, Emotion, Space and Society, 28 (2018): 9–17, 14.

  36. 36.

    Livingstone, “Taking Risky Opportunities 396.

  37. 37.

    Ibid., 405–6.

  38. 38.

    Ibid., 395.

  39. 39.

    boyd, It’s Complicated, 16–17.

  40. 40.

    Ibid., 3–8.

  41. 41.

    Livingstone, “Taking Risky Opportunities”, 395.

  42. 42.

    Eric Hirsch, and Charles Stewart. “Introduction: Ethnographies of Historicity”. History and Anthropology, 16, no. 3 (2005): 261–274.

  43. 43.

    Paul Arthur Longley. “Participating in the Past: Recording Lives in Digital Environments” in History Experiments John Frowe and Katrina Schlunke, eds, Cultural Studies Review 14, no 1. p187–9

  44. 44.

    Ibid.

  45. 45.

    Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality and Lesbian Public Cultures (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), p7.

  46. 46.

    Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, “The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the PEN World Voices Festival”, 2015. https://pen.org/the-arthur-miller-freedom-to-write-lecture-at-the-pen-world-voices-festival/

  47. 47.

    Claire Robson, Writing for Change: Research as Public Pedagogy and Arts-Based Activism (New York: P. Lang, 2013), 65.

  48. 48.

    Ibid., 65.

  49. 49.

    Helen Klaebe, Marcus Foth, Jean Burgess, and Mark Bilandzic, “Digital Storytelling and History Lines: Community Engagement in a Master-Planned Development”, in Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2007, 108–120.

  50. 50.

    Niels van Doorn, “Digital Spaces, Material Traces: How Matter Comes to Matter in Online Performances of Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment”. Media, Culture & Society, 33, no. 4 (2011): 531–547.

  51. 51.

    Deuze, M. “Media Life”. Media, Culture & Society 33, no. 1 (2011): 137–148.

  52. 52.

    Rhonda Sciortino, “Success in Foster Care Requires Teamwork”, Children’s Voice, 23.1 (2014): 18–20.

  53. 53.

    Ruth Page and Bronwen Thomas (eds), New Narratives: Stories and Storytelling in the Digital Age (Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 2011. p7).

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Deitz, M., Burns, L.S. (2022). Foster Youth in the Mediasphere. In: Foster Youth in the Mediasphere. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-17953-2_2

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