The internet and mobile phones play a much greater role than expected in the lives of young people who are socially, culturally or economically marginalised, challenging the concept of the 'digital divide' which suggests that marginalised young people's use of technology is limited.
Researchers found that young people who are marginalised and at risk of developing mental health difficulties use the internet as a tool to express themselves, channel energy into their social networking profiles or chat to others online. Some participants who felt they had few friends in the face-to-face world, said they use the Internet to make new friends, which built their confidence and self-esteem.
The research involved focus groups with young people and in-depth interviews with service providers, across Victoria. It explored how young people from a diverse range of backgrounds use ICT such as the Internet, and how this can impact on their mental health and wellbeing.