Compared to only a decade ago the way people access, absorb and elaborate information has totally changed, with new media emerging on the scene, such as online journals, websites and social media.
The use of online media has grown rapidly and new services and communication tools, such as blogs, video stream and social media have emerged. Young people, including young adults with disabilities, are more affected: overall in Europe 97% of young people (including young adults between 18 and 30) use internet at least one a week [Eurostat, 2017].
Young adults generally possess a wider range of ICT skills, but not so much is known on the way how these new media represent diversity, in particular disability and disabled adult people, on the effect this representation (often stigmatisation) has on people with and without disabilities and on the way young people with disabilities participate in social media and the barriers they encounter (Ref. UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
The studies at national level in Lithuania (LT), Italy (IT), Portugal (PT) and Austria (AT) provides quite common situation overview in all partner countries – the main image of the disabled people is formed by the professional journalists and media, while the potential of disabled people to represent themselves in media is not revealed. Digital media skills have direct relation to young adults with disabilities better social inclusion and capacity to tackle discrimination, segregation and cyberbullying while representing themselves on media.
- To enhance digital media skills of adults with disabilities using interactive learning settings to actively and constructively contribute to a fairer and more pluralistic representation of disability in social media.
- To fill the gaps in the professional adult educator’s preparation to better support young adults with disabilities in their engagement with digital (social) media.
- Led by the University of Bologna the consortium will carry out a study that will deeply focus on stereotypes, investigating how they are created and the way they are evolving due to the democratisation of digital media. It will deal both with language and visual components of texts and messages. An innovative methodology will combine qualitative and quantitative analysis.
Armed with that knowledge the consortium will involve young adults with disabilities in the co-design and implementation of Social Media Training Labs in LT, IT, PT and AT; physical places where peers with disabilities meet and discuss their social media consumption and participation. Through the deconstruction of information found in the media and the construction of alternative, more authentic representations the groups will actively engage with social media and more specifically with common shared social channels.
The expectation is that this will contribute to a more complex and pluralistic representation of disability in digital media. In the Training labs the participants will develop their digital skills (Ref. Digital Agenda for Europe).
The participants will also be involved in a cocreating process of the MeMe Guidelines and of a Toolbox with apps, assistive software and other solutions to facilitate access and presence in social media.
The project will also produce a Learning programme for adult educators, PwD workers and assistants starting from gaps in standards for the initial education of these professionals in the participating countries and other available professional standards (e.g. ethical standards for journalists).
Finally, it will be created a Serious Mobile game engaging targeted adults in interactive learning.
- Enhanced digital media skills of 80 young adults with disabilities, strengthened the capacity of educating over 60 adult educators, introducing over 75 media professionals and over 80 parents of PwD with recommendations.
Impact: Using a wide range of dissemination tools, among which 5 multiplier events, the results of the project will be shared with stakeholders.
The short-term impact will be at national level on adults with disabilities, adult educators, media professionals and policymakers being more aware of the complexity of social media education and the need for appropriate resources to cater for needs.
The long-term impact relates to more PwD using social media for entertainment, socializing with their peers, advocacy and for a fairer representation of diversity in society.