Media use of youth in special schools (MUSE)
Background and aims
Media define the daily lives of children and adolescents around the clock. Although the media behaviour of youth is now surveyed on a regular basis (in Switzerland mainly by the JAMES study), studies have not included children and adolescents in residential and special education schools. MUSE closed this information gap and delivered the first basic data on media use by children and adolescents in special schools.
The main research question was: What media do young people in special schools use, and how frequently and in what way? Do the young people differ in their media use from young people in regular schools? A total of 351 young people aged 12–19 completed the questionnaire. 48 schools in 17 cantons across Switzerland participated; 67.1% were boys, and 69.8% had Swiss citizenship. The study was conducted from March 2018 to March 2019.
Broadly comparable to young people in regular schools:
- Young people in special schools are on their way to full digital participation: Use of mobile phones is very high: 82% possess their own mobile phone, 14% have the use of a mobile phone at home, and 4% have no mobile phone at their disposal.
- Regarding favourite media, young people in special schools have the same preferences, such as Fast and Furious, Harry Potter, YouTube, Instagram, Grand Theft Auto V.
- Every fifth young person experiences cyber-mobbing, 15% experience cyber grooming. Regarding sexting, 10% send erotic photos, and 26% receive erotic photos.
Greater differences from young people at regular schools:
- At 22.9%, the percent of young people in special schools with problematic Internet dependence is excessively large in international comparison.
- When asked specifically about social media, 75% report that they do not use any social media at all.
- 34.8% regularly update privacy settings, 23.3% do not update privacy settings regularly, 41.9% have never activated privacy settings, and 48.4% worry that unknown third parties can access their data. MUSE reveals that young people in special schools need particular support in their media use but that they also need to be specially protected, so that all of them can benefit from full digital and social participation, to which their same preferences contribute.
MUSE reveals that young people in special schools need particular support in their media use but that they also need to be specially protected, so that all of them can benefit from full digital and social participation, to which their same preferences contribute.