Adolescent Engagement and Skills Acquisition in Digital Spaces

Understanding Opportunities, Empowerment, and Inclusion Online

Youth sitting together on their computers
UNICEF/2020/Arimacs Wilander


This research takes a mixed methods and design-led approach to understand how adolescents in Southeast Asia interact and engage with the variety of content and platforms available online. The research aimed to understand whether adolescents are developing relevant 21st century and digital skills through online platforms, and whether and how online spaces are contributing to young people’s sense of self-empowerment. The methodology included in-depth primary research conducted in four countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, and secondary research in Viet Nam. It applies ethnographic, qualitative, quantitative, and digital methods of research to investigate the barriers and enablers that impact young people’s online experiences, and identify future pathways that could help adolescents become active and contributing participants in the digital world. The research presents actionable recommendations related to skill development, online safety, digital engagement and others to support all adolescents, in particular the most vulnerable, to maximise their digital potential.

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