20 September 2022

Gearing up for this year’s Nominet Digital Youth Index

When working on contemporary digital issues impacting young people, the single most important place to start is listening to young people.

20 September 2022

Gearing up for this year’s Nominet Digital Youth Index

Written by Amy O’Donnell, Senior Programme Manager at Nominet and Youth Group Leader.

More than ever, young people are facing the unprecedented impact of the digital revolution on their lives. We face a context where the opportunities are game changing, but not equally distributed. When working on contemporary digital issues impacting young people, the single most important place to start is listening to young people. That is why we’re delighted to be launching the second year of The Nominet Digital Youth Index.  

Our free-to-use national, annual benchmarking research sets out to identify and monitor the key drivers, issues and opportunities in young people’s relationship with digital technology across the UK in their own words. Now in its second year, the Index is the first holistic nationwide survey of its kind and has been used widely by policy makers and civil society organisations. With our research partner Opinium who are a strategic insight agency, we’re already unearthing fascinating new findings and our year-on-year commitment means we’re only set to gain more longitudinal insight.

What this means to me and a new context

For me, coming into a new job in Social Impact at Nominet a year ago, I hit the ground running supporting the inaugural launch of the Nominet Digital Youth Index. As I peeled back layers in analysing the research, I was increasingly excited by the evidence base and insights. Finding out that half of young people were teaching themselves digital skills, that those who most rely on the internet for support are those most likely to face harm, and that 94% young people perceive themselves to be safe online helped frame my thoughts around the priorities of social impact and about the human stories behind the statistics. What I love is that the index goes beyond questions of infrastructure like what devices you have, to drill down into behaviours, attitudes, relationships and situations. In other words: those dimensions where technology meets human behaviour and reality.    

While our first year sat firmly in the post pandemic context, as young people grappled with digital changes to their education, work and socialisation; this year we are noticing new emergent themes and questions. How does the rising cost of living affect young people in their digital lives? How do we stay safe online and enable everyone to harness the opportunities digital technology brings? How can we level up, growing the UK’s digital talent pool and increase digital skills for all young people?  

Acting on your feedback

From being quoted in UK Parliament on the day of launch, to influencing strategy and policy, we have received great feedback from audiences of the data. We have heard that in complement to our report and data snapshots, there is value in the interactive data dashboard which invites you to drive yourself to inform and focus further research, enable programme and service design, inform policy discussions and support evaluations.  

We have listened to feedback to improve our approach this year, so you can expect some exciting changes. These include:  

  • Doubling our sample size from 2,000 to 4,000 8-25 year olds 
  • Improving our methodology for reaching young people who are “offline” or face barriers to completing online surveys 
  • Introducing a Youth Panel alongside our expert Advisory Panel to deepen our understanding and analysis  
  • Qualitative interviews with young people, parents, carers and professions set up to react to findings (compared to last year where the qualitative research helped determine the quantitative questions) 
  • Integrating your feedback into our surveys and platform  

We are also making stronger links with existing, complimentary research initiatives which we can’t wait to share more on soon.   

What’s next?

We’re keen to hear from you – have you used the Index? What would you expect to see this year? Let us know what will make this year even more valuable to you. 

Please save the date for our launch event on 17th October and expect more content from us in the coming weeks on this page as we gear up for launch and share some of the insights and findings with you.  

more from this category
Physical and mental wellbeing
Image of Chloe

19 August 2022

Case study: Chloe is seeking to safeguard herself from harmful material online

18-year-old university student Chloe's story highlights how having access to the latest technology and skills alone are not enough to mitigate encountering of upsetting content online. As a result, her mental health and wellbeing are suffering.

Read this article
Digital access and inclusion
Image of Bailey

8 August 2022

Case study: Bailey opens up about being left behind during the transition to online

Living with dyslexia and mild cerebral palsy, Bailey's story is just one example of how barriers of disadvantage can expand the divide between young people. Bailey encourages us to question the extent to which online spaces are designed to be inclusive for all.

Read this article
Access to services
Image of Kiren

27 July 2022

Case study: Kiren discusses when her device does not suffice

14-year-old school student Kiren’s story focuses on her use of second hand digital devices. We gain insight into the difficulties she sometimes faces, and highlight the ways in which the devices she has access to are not always necessarily fit for purpose.

Read this article

Our interactive data tool

Explore the data

Dive into the Index data and dig out the insights most valuable to you by filtering for age, location or topic.

Explore the tool