Edith Cowan University
There are currently over 42.5 million displaced persons worldwide, with 15.2 million identifying as refugees. The Karen Burmese are a persecuted ethnic group forced to flee to refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. Australia plays host to 22170 Burmese, with 80% identifying as Karen. For the Karen and other refugees, involuntary migration is a difficult experience. Refugees face many challenges when resettling into a new community, and refugee youth experience additional challenges. It is important for psychosocial wellbeing to have a sense of community (SOC) and belonging (SOB), but this may be disrupted for refugee youth. One way that young people have shown to connect is through social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook (with 955 million members and growing). The current study, through the use of two focus groups, aimed to explore how Karen youth (N = 11) from refugee backgrounds in Perth, Western Australia use Facebook and what influence their use has on their SOC and SOB. A phenomenological approach was taken and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used. Preliminary analysis identified several themes such as interaction, barriers to interaction, offline overlap, privacy, communication functions, and the importance of Facebook.