Protecting and promoting young people’s social and emotional health in online and offline contexts
Wyn, J. & Cahill, H.
Child Health Promotion Research Centre
Young people’s use of mobile phones and access to the Internet have increased dramatically in the last decade, especially among those aged 9–15 years. Young people now rely on information and communication technologies for a considerable proportion of their social interaction, which can potentially have both positive and negative effects on their social and emotional well-being. Of particular concern is the extent to which ICT provides opportunities for cyberbullying . This chapter provides an overview of these issues, before reviewing research suggesting that positive social and emotional learning opportunities could enhance young people’s online and offline relationships, as well as their academic performance. Among young people, supportive relationships with peers, parents, and teachers are associated with less bullying perpetration and victimization, fewer psychological health problems, and more effective coping strategies and with positive academic performance and positive social/emotional adjustment. Finally, this chapter highlights the importance of whole-community approaches to enhancing young people’s social and emotional skills and to address negative online behaviors. Findings from a large-group randomized controlled trial addressing these issues, the Cyber Friendly Schools Project , are discussed. This study identified whole-school policy and practices that appear to enhance young people’s online and offline peer relationships and well-being.