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Foster Youth in the Mediasphere

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Foster Youth in the Mediasphere


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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  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.

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  33. 33.

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  34. 34.

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  36. 36.

    Livingstone, “Taking Risky Opportunities 396.

  37. 37.

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  38. 38.

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  39. 39.

    boyd, It’s Complicated, 16–17.

  40. 40.

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  47. 47.

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  48. 48.

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  49. 49.

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  52. 52.

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  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.

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