CIRA partners with MediaSmarts on new research into the digital lives of Canadian youth

The partnership supports pioneering research into the digital lives of Canadian families

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is pledging its support for the next phase of a unique, multi-year research project that investigates the online behaviours of Canadian youth. This platinum sponsorship of $82,600 is CIRA’s latest in support of national not-for-profit organization MediaSmarts, Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy.

The organizations share a common mission to promote the importance of digital literacy to Canada’s social and economic future. CIRA has supported MediaSmarts since 2009, and is now continuing to support MediaSmarts’ ground-breaking research by funding the next phase of their landmark study Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW), which examines the digital lives of Canadian youth and has been ongoing since 2000. CIRA also sponsored the previous phase of this initiative.

Through its YCWW research, MediaSmarts has ­­gathered a wealth of information about young Canadians’ online behaviours. The research has raised key issues around the challenges and opportunities youth face in the digital age, and has highlighted the importance of education in helping young people make smart online decisions.

Using this research, and with funding from CIRA’s Community Investment Program, MediaSmarts has developed USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE, an innovative digital literacy framework for students from kindergarten to grade 12, and Digital Literacy 101, a digital literacy teacher training program supported by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada’s CanCode program. The training program has reached almost 3,000 new teachers since 2017.

CIRA now joins MediaSmarts as a Platinum Sponsor of the Young Canadians in a Wired World Phase IV focus groups, which will help determine the kinds of resources teachers, parents and civic organizations need to help young Canadians lead healthy online lives. Findings from the focus groups will be released in early 2020. 

MediaSmarts and CIRA look forward to building on this important relationship through the development of digital literacy initiatives to benefit all Canadians.

Key facts:

  • YCWW findings are used to create evidence-informed internet policies in Canadian schools and public libraries, and to inform public policy and standards such as the Canadian Paediatric Society’s screen time recommendations. MediaSmarts has presented findings from YCWW research to many government departments and agencies, including the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women on the topic of girls and cyber-violence in 2016.
  • The USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE framework has resulted in over 50 free, bilingual resources, including lessons and interactive games, which support the development of digital literacy skills in Canadian students
  • Almost 3,000 new teachers across Canada have been trained as part of the Digital Literacy 101 educator workshops
  • Over 90% of the teachers who participated in the workshops reported a need for digital literacy training, yet few had received it. After having completed the workshop, over 80% indicated that they had increased confidence in integrating digital literacy into their classrooms.

 

Executive quotes:

“CIRA has been a long-standing supporter of our work, and their funding has been crucial in getting our new teacher training initiative off the ground,” says Kathryn Ann Hill, Executive Director of MediaSmarts. “We are so grateful to CIRA for believing in MediaSmarts. Thanks to their continued support, we will once again have the opportunity to speak with youth across Canada about their online experiences; this is critical research that is foundational to our development of tools and resources that help build a better online world for all.”

“The digital landscape is quickly changing and young Canadians need skills to help them safely navigate and contribute positively to the online environments they use daily,” says David Fowler, vice-president of marketing and communications at CIRA. “We’re proud to support MediaSmarts’ new research, which will drive innovative digital literacy programming and resources to better educate Canada’s young people.” 

Additional resources:

About MediaSmarts

MediaSmarts is the national, bilingual, not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. For the past 25 years MediaSmarts has advanced digital and media literacy in Canadian schools, homes and communities, delivered high-quality digital and media literacy programs and resources, and conducted vital research that contributes to the development of informed public policy on issues related to media. mediasmarts.ca

                                  

Contact:              

Tricia Grant, Manager of Marketing and Communications, MediaSmarts

613-224-7721 ext. 231 tgrant@mediasmarts.ca

 

About CIRA’s Community Investment Program

CIRA is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding innovative projects led by charities, not-for-profits and academic institutions that are making the internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada's internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in infrastructure and access, digital literacy, online services, and engagement.