Connecting and Distancing: Mobile Phones, Social Media, Young People and COVID Measures
Date and Time: Thursday, 9 June, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Location: Building EZ, Conference Room 1, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University
Chair: Ben Hanckel
Panellists: Skye Tasker, Martyna Gliniecka and Shiva Chandra
Beyond its toll on public health, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures adopted to limit the spread of the virus - lockdowns and social distancing - have had a significant toll on sociality. With schools and universities closed for months on end, young people were faced with limited options for face-to-face communication and a heightened dependency on digital devices.
This panel focuses on the specific challenges and opportunities that young people faced during the pandemic and how these challenges were mediated through the use of social media and smartphones. The speakers will consider the ways existing digital practices were re-produced during the pandemic, the role of technology in facilitating and enabling (dis)connections while social distancing, and its use in navigating experiences related to identity, mental health, sexuality and gender, and public and personal health.
Benjamin Hanckel is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) and Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University, Australia. Benjamin’s work examines health and wellbeing, social inequalities in health, and social change. His research has explored the role of digital technologies in the lives of young people, and its impact on their wellbeing. He is currently Acting Co-Director at the Young and Resilient Research Centre, and holds affiliate positions at King's College London and the University of Tasmania.
Skye Tasker is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) and the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University. Skye is passionate about working and researching with young people to reimagine digital health and ethics in theory and praxis. Currently, she is completing her PhD project affiliated with the Wellbeing Health and Youth Centre of Research Excellence, to examine the changing role of ‘expertise’ in shaping young people’s health practices and experiences of (digital) health during COVID-19.
Shiva Chandra is a research officer at the Young and Resilient Research Centre, at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. He uses creative and innovative methods to explore subjectivity and how individuals relate to their social worlds. His work explores personal life, sexuality, gender, race and decolonisation. Shiva is also interested in understanding how scholarship can sit at the intersection of academia and community development, with the aim of improving people’s lives.
Martyna Gliniecka is a PhD candidate at the Young and Resilient Research Centre at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. She researches young people’s health-related discussions on Reddit. She is interested in exploring the intersections of digital health practices, young people’s voices and platform affordances as contributing to the youth health discourse. Her other work also focuses on the ethics of researching publicly available user-generated content.