Technology and the new power dynamics: limitations of digital youth work

This study offers some analytical perspectives on the limits of digital youth work. The discussion will reflect on the practical implementation of digital youth work and the underpinning philosophy and values of youth work.

The purpose here is to explore the existing digital youth work mechanisms, tools and developments put in place both by state and by non-state actors.

This article examines some of the gaps in digital youth work programme design and delivery (both locally and on a strategic level) and provides some guidance on how these might be addressed. The discussion is grounded in research on digital youth work and testimonies of youth workers in Europe based on their experience of delivering youth work services and activities online.

The analysis is based on a review of policies and programmes dedicated to digital youth work before the Covid-19 pandemic, but also during and post-lockdown, when the development of digital and “smart” youth work was accelerated.

This paper addresses those who might be (or already are) involved in digital youth work planning and delivery and provides youth workers, youth organisations, policy makers and researchers with some food for thought on digital youth work.

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