VicHealth's Young People, Technology and Social Relationships program was set up in response to the Young People, Technology and Social Relationships scoping paper, undertaken by Johanna Wyn of the University of Melbourne’s Youth Research Centre.
The program offered grants of up to $100,000 per year over three years to develop, research and evaluate initiatives that explored the impact of technology on young people’s social relationships, and mental health and wellbeing.
The 10MMM project studied the challenges associated with the digital divide faced by young people in the rural shire of Southern Grampians. 10MMM used a range of technologies to assist in reducing the effects of social isolation for young people. The project engaged young people throughout every stage, including development of new technologies, identification of leaders and research.
SYN.ORG.AU developed an online youth program site in conjunction with a number of metropolitan and rural Victorian high schools and youth programs. This project trained teachers to use the site for student curriculum requirements.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Bridging the Digital Divide was a Youth Action Project initiative of the Inspire Foundation. The project aimed to increase social connectedness and civic engagement to promote mental health and wellbeing amongst 16–25-year-olds from some of Australia’s most under-served communities.
The research explored key concepts around the role that information communication technologies (ICT) play in young people’s development and social relationships. The research informed the development of ‘youth action workshops’ that were implemented in selected youth centres in Victoria.
The SPiT Project focused on improving connections between disabled young people through the development of skills in digital music and arts-related technology. It trialled a computer skills mentoring program that engaged young people with Asperger’s syndrome, high-functioning autism and ADD/ADHD. The project was a partnership between two disability respite and support agencies in Bendigo and East Gippsland.
The Avatar Project worked with students and young people from Melbourne’s Western suburbs to design online environments where they felt they belonged together and could express themselves. This guided the development of a 3D computer game, and a suite of easy-to-use web-based communication tools aimed at developing social interaction. The Avatar Project was run in conjunction with Victoria University.