What will your child be asked to do?
Students will be asked to complete a pen-and-paper survey, which will be administered to the students by the researchers and their teacher during class. The first survey will occur in 2018 with further surveys conducted annually in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Participants will be asked a range of questions about their Internet usage, technical proficiency and the types of technologies used to go online. Some questions will also ask participants about the sorts of things they do online, some of which may fall into the category of risky behaviours.
What are “risky behaviours”?
The survey asks students to tell us very broadly about the sorts of things they do online. Some of the things they admit to may fall into the category of risky behaviours, such as music/video downloading without payment, or accessing the accounts/devices of others. However, questions are deliberately posed broadly so as to not elicit any specific details pertaining to illegal activities. Also see the question below “Are there any risks or discomforts if my child becomes involved?”.
What benefit will my child gain from being involved?
This research project is the first of its kind in the world - focusing on the processes whereby digital technologies and the Internet plays an influential role in the emergence of adolescent delinquency. Although the participants of the study will not immediately benefit from this research, their contribution will assist in providing an up-to-date understanding of (1) how young people learn about digital technologies and develop skills and (2) the pathways and patterns associated with risky internet use by young people; and (3) the factors linked to behavioural change over time. The research will also (4) identify key policy levers that might be developed to discourage delinquent involvement online, and mitigate associated social harms (e.g. fraud, hacking, intellectual property infringement, cyber-bullying).
Will my child be identifiable by being involved in this study?
Your child’s identity will be kept strictly confidential. The research team will not be able to identify your child, and your child’s school will not have access to your child’s survey responses. Because this survey is longitudinal, it is necessary to link an individual respondent’s responses from one year to the next. In order to make this possible, whilst still maintaining confidentiality, the research team will assign each respondent a randomly generated participant number for the duration of the project. To reduce the burden associated with your child having to either remember or retain a copy of this participant number, your child’s school will maintain (confidentially) a record of which participant number is assigned to each Department for Education Identification Number. This simple record will be used only for purpose of linking responses in the dataset across time, and your child’s school will not have access to any of the completed surveys, or the associated dataset. Furthermore, this identifying data will not form part of any analysis, and will be kept separate from the primary data file at all times (in a separate, encrypted database). Only de-identified data will be available and analysed by researchers, and any reports/publications will reference aggregate data only. There is therefore no way that your child can be identified from any publication or reports.
Whilst the attending teacher will know that your child has participated in the survey (because your child was present on the day), the teacher will never be able to read or access any of the responses provided. Should you have any further concerns about confidentiality, please do not hesitate to contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our website form.
Are there any risks or discomforts if my child becomes involved?
The survey will ask your child to report their online activities and some of those reported activities may be illegal. However, questions are deliberately designed so as to not elicit any specific details regarding the place, time, and fellow participants in any such activities reported. Therefore, there will be little opportunity for any recourse from peers, teachers or others by participating in the study and answering questions openly. Moreover, data will be de-identified and reported in aggregate form only, and will only be accessed by researchers affiliated with the project. All information collected from participants will be handled in compliance with Commonwealth and South Australian privacy and other legal requirements.
What if I don’t want my child to participate?
Participation is entirely voluntary, and your child will not participate if either you or your child specify that your child will not participate. Those students who choose not to participate will be taken to a separate room by one of the school’s teachers to carry out independent work while the survey is being administered. No child will suffer negative consequences by their non-participation in this study.
If you do not want your child to participate in the study you complete the opt-out form, or email us at email@example.com. Even if your child has commenced as a participant in the study, you may still withdraw them from future surveys at any time by using the link above or via email. Additionally, there will be an opt-out option on the survey itself. Your child can also choose not to answer any question and they are free to withdraw from the survey at any time without effect or consequences.