Exploring youth engagement in a digital age
First post here so hello!
I work for a small local charity supporting young people. We have a local base but would like to offer online support at least countywide and possibly across the UK as we're quite a niche service.
We've set up a forum through our website but it's not taking off and I wonder if we'd be better off using facebook as a medium for both finding, and supporting, young people.
What are your experiences of using facebook groups to engage with young people? We need it to be open so that new young people can find and see it, but also for it to be a way of them engaging with our staff team for support and also "talking" to one another from a peer support point of view.
Do any of you use facebook for anything similar? Or any other forms of social network?
Is it possible to have admin rights over a group in order to remove / moderate any inappropriate content?
Looking forward to any helpful comments / suggestions!
Hi Sam, from my experience Facebook groups work really well for communicating with young people who you have met face to face and/or are involved in projects/forums.
Within my role at the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services I use a Facebook group to keep in touch with members of our national youth forum ENVOY. The group is 'closed', which means it can be found on Facebook, but only members can view the content. Young people need to submit requests to join the group which are approved by our admins. Admins can also remove content and members’ access.
It has been extremely helpful in enabling everyone to be involved in planning our annual Young Partners Awards. We have used it to select young people to take part in events, to sort out travel arrangements, share video evidence from visits to shortlisted organisations and to support decision making.
I use a group for a similar purpose within my other role at Norfolk County Council. I have a Facebook group which I use to contact our current Members of Youth Parliament and another one for communicating with young people who I have yet to meet face to face but have put themselves forward as candidates for the next UK Youth Parliament elections. It works really well as a way of sharing general information and responding to queries. It does take some time to manage, I have to make sure I post content regularly and respond to every contribution young people make.
I would be interested to know what kind of support you plan to offer via your group. If your group was open it would mean that anyone could see the content which may discourage young people from contributing and could also raise potential safeguarding / confidentiality issues, particularly if the young people are discussing sensitive topics. There may be better alternatives which would allow you to create a private space for young people to discuss these issues.