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Is everyone using technology? Addressing the social and cultural needs of newcomer youth (2011)

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Posted on:
May 15, 2024

What is this research about?

This research explores the role of technology in addressing the social and cultural needs of newcomer youth in Ontario, Canada. It examines how newcomer youth, aged 17-24, and settlement service staff perceive and use technology in the settlement process.

What do you need to know?

The research highlights the importance of direct engagement and physical presence in the settlement services for newcomer youth. It identifies a gap in the use of technology for delivering settlement services, where both youth and service providers see technology as supplementary rather than central to the settlement process. The study also points out the limited resources and capacity of mainstream and settlement-specific services to meet the needs of newcomer youth.

  • The role of technology in newcomer youth's lives.
  • The barriers and opportunities that technology presents for settlement services.
  • The current state of settlement services for newcomer youth.
  • The preferences and needs of newcomer youth regarding settlement services.

What did the researchers do?

The researchers conducted a mixed-methodological study that included:

  • Literature review on technology, settlement, and newcomer youth.
  • Individual interviews with six participants: three newcomer youth and three settlement service providers.
  • Analysis of statistical data and grey literature on settlement services and technology use.

What did the researchers find?

  1. Limited Role of Technology in Settlement Services:
    • Both youth and service providers prefer face-to-face interactions over online services. Newcomer youth prefer direct engagement with services and resources rather than relying solely on technology.
    • Technology is mainly used for communication with friends and family back home, not for accessing settlement services.
  2. Importance of Direct Engagement:
    • Youth and staff emphasize the need for physical presence and direct engagement in settlement activities.
    • Face-to-face interactions help youth build trust and understand services better.
  3. Challenges and Barriers:
    • Settlement services are underfunded and inconsistent across different locations.
    • Socio-economic disparities impact access to technology, leading to a digital divide.
    • There is a digital divide, with socio-economic factors impacting access to technology for newcomer youth.
  4. Educational Barriers:
    • Newcomer youth face challenges in the education system, with guidance counselors and teachers often not meeting their needs effectively.
    • Youth need more personalized support to navigate educational and settlement challenges.
  5. Service Gaps and Needs:
    • There is a lack of coordinated and youth-specific settlement services.
    • There is a lack of resources and capacity in both mainstream and settlement-specific services to meet the needs of newcomer youth.
    • Newcomer youth need services that are responsive to their unique cultural and linguistic needs.

How can you use this research if you work in the sector this report is about?

By understanding these findings and applying them, service providers can better support the social and cultural integration of newcomer youth, ensuring they receive the resources and assistance they need to thrive in their new environment.

  1. Enhance Face-to-Face Services:
    • Prioritize in-person interactions and support for newcomer youth to build trust and ensure effective communication.
  2. Address Educational Needs:
    • Provide targeted support for newcomer youth in schools, including language programs and guidance tailored to their specific needs.
  3. Improve Service Coordination:
    • Develop coordinated and integrated settlement services that address the diverse needs of newcomer youth. By understanding these findings and applying them, service providers can better support the social and cultural integration of newcomer youth, ensuring they receive the resources and assistance they need to thrive in their new environment.
  4. Leverage Technology Strategically:
    • Use technology to supplement, not replace, face-to-face services.
    • Create online resources that support communication with family and friends, which can help maintain cultural connections.
  5. Advocate for Funding and Policy Changes:
    • Push for consistent funding and policies that recognize and address the unique needs of newcomer youth.

Summary

This research explores the role of technology in addressing the social and cultural needs of newcomer youth in Ontario, Canada. It examines how newcomer youth, aged 17-24, and settlement service staff perceive and use technology in the settlement process.
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