What will I be asked to do?
You will be asked to complete a paper and pen survey by researchers and your teacher during class. The first survey will take place in 2018, and again one time per year in 2019, 2020, and 2021. You will be asked a range of questions about the way you use the Internet and some of the things you do online.
What benefit will I get from the study?
Your contribution will give us an understanding of (1) how young people learn about the Internet and develop skills and (2) the pathways and patterns associated with risky internet use by young people. Your participation will also help to find ways to address social harms such as identity theft, hacking, and cyber-bullying.
Will you be able to tell who I am?
Your identity will be kept confidential. The research team will not be able to identify you, and your school will not have access to any of the answers that you provide. The research team will assign each participating student a unique participant number, so that we can match your survey responses one year to the next. Your school will retain the only record of which student is associated with which participant number – but will not be able to see or have access to your survey, or any of specific answers that you provide. Only de-identified data will be analysed and reported. While your teacher will know that you have participated in the survey (because you were present), they will also not be able to see or access any of the answers you provide. Teachers may be in the room, but will not walk around the room or look at your answers.
Are there any risks if I participate?
The survey will ask you about your activities online, and some of the things that you do online may be illegal. However, the survey questions are designed in such a way that they only ask you about your broad involvement in these sorts of activities. We do not ask you to give us any specific information about those activities, such as information about the place, time or the people that were involved. Keeping questions broad means that we can keep your data confidential. We will not share your specific answers with anyone once we have finished examining them. Only the researchers and research assistants will have access to the raw data. When we report the results of the data in publications (e.g., books, articles), only summarised data will be published. This means that we might report that 60% of students use Facebook, for example, but we would not specify who does and who doesn’t use Facebook.
Therefore, you should feel free to respond to the questions honestly. However, if some questions make you feel uncomfortable you can skip those questions.
What if I don't want to participate?
You do not have to participate in the study if you do not want to. You are also able to leave the study at any time. If you choose not to participate, you will be taken to a separate room by one of the school’s teachers to carry out independent work while your classmates fill out the survey. You will not suffer any negative consequences if you choose not to participate in this study.