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Digital Informed Youth (DIY) Digital Safety: Exploratory Research Project

We have developed a mixed-methods and exploratory research project that integrates methodologies successfully used in the research teams’ current and past funded research. We will recruit up to 200 young people aged 13-18 who will complete:

  1. A quantitative questionnaire to capture important details around gender, sexuality, Indigeneity, and geographic location, enabling us to tailor our outputs, resources, and recommendations;

  2. Semi-structured interviews that will provide deep, rich, and nuanced data about young people’s experiences with TFSV, messages they receive around TFSV, the extent to which existing messages and responses are useful, and what resources and responses they would like;

  3. Creative arts-based practices such as meme-making, poster-making, or collaging to create deeper engagement and artistic outputs that can be fed into educational resources.

Phase 1: Exploring the educational messages, school policies, and legislation directed at combatting TFSV 

We will begin conducting a literature search of relevant research and a textual analysis of educational curriculum, school policies, codes of conduct, sexual health education handbooks, and legislation, addressing issues of TFSV across four Canadian provinces/territories (Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Yukon). Using an exploratory case study design, we have carefully selected three provinces, and one territory, enabling us to study how laws and educational standards are shaping conversations, experiences, and practices around TFSV. 

Phase 2: Analyzing the extent to which existing curricular, legal, and policy responses to TFSV offer adequate supports and education in young people’s everyday lives, and identifying what education, policies, and determine what supports young people want to combat TFSV

We will employ layered qualitative methods with 200 young people in rural and urban locations across our four regions in Canada (50 young people/region), with input from Indigenous stakeholders. Our research design adopts an intersectional feminist approach which recognizes that experiences with TFSV and ensuing policies, messages, and supports are impacted by identity characteristics such as gender, sexuality, and Indigeneity. Given the breadth of research acknowledging how gender and sexualized violence disproportionately impact members of LGBQ+ and Indigenous communities, we will attend to the experiences and needs of these marginalized groups. 


All participants will begin by completing a questionnaire, followed by semi-structured interviews that include an arts-based element. With our Indigenous participants, and in consultation with our Indigenous collaborators at BYTE, we may elect to use talking or learning circles which are rooted in Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing. 

Phase 3: Creating educational resources for young people and best practice recommendations for educators and policy makers

The final two years of the project will draw from research data and artefacts produced in Phase 2. The resources will be empirically grounded, drawing from arts-based methodologies that foreground young people’s experiences – and at times solutions – to coping with, mitigating, and/or preventing TFSV. The digital artifacts created alongside key research findings will feed into educational resources.

A key outcome of our project will be the creation of open-access resources for youth and educators that will help prepare future generations of young people to identify and combat TFSV. Key resources will be translated to French and Indigenous languages (e.g., Cree) to increase accessibility. 

Synthesizing Research on Technology Facilitated Gender-Based Violence

Technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV) refers to acts of violence based on one’s gender, gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender that are carried out using technology (e.g., text message, social media, GPS tracking). In Canada and internationally, young people are experiencing severe impacts and challenges related to TFGBV, yet, it is not always clear what the best practices are for responding to these harms and, in Canada, it is often difficult to determine what resources are readily available to support young people in various regions.

This project will:

  1. Synthesize the growing international and domestic literature from the past decade about TFGBV among young people, specifically teens aged 13-18;

  2. Identify what is not yet known about TFGBV in the Canadian context;

  3. Identify best practices for supporting young people who are impacted by TFGBV.


The project’s resulting report and evidence brief, along with additional knowledge mobilization approaches, will be used to inform responses provided at high levels of law and policy creation as well as on the frontlines of Canadian schools, shelters, and community organizations to support young people impacted by TFGBV. In the short term, this will help with the immediate goals of influencing Canadian federal policy, such as the currently proposed federal Online Harms Bill and the Digital Charter for Canadians. In the longer term, it will help develop evidence-informed support for young people and inspire much-needed quantitative and qualitative Canadian research projects in this area.

Funding provided by:

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