Well-being and the digital worlds of unaccompanied refugee children and young people

Project Details


This research project was a collaboration between the University of Brighton, the University of Sussex, and The Hummingbird Refugee Project in Brighton.

The study aimed to understand how Unaccompanied Children and Young People (UCYP) use digital technology and social media, as well as the potential benefits and risks associated with their online engagement.

A variety of methods were used, including an online survey for care providers and key informant interviews with UCYP. The project team trained and supported co-researchers with lived experience to take a leading role, resulting in interesting methodological insights for working with this group.

eNurture Research Council Grant Ref: ES/S004467/1

Key findings

The research found that UCYP use digital technology and social media extensively for communication with family and friends, entertainment, educational purposes and to stay up to date with current affairs. Social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and TikTok were the most used. While there are potential risks associated with social media use, such as exploitation, eye strain and other health implications, the study found that some of these risks can be mitigated through education and support. The findings highlight the importance of a balanced approach to technology use and the need for further research in this area.

The survey of care providers found that they recognise the importance of digital technology for UCYP's well-being, education, and integration, but also have concerns about the risks associated with social media use. The care providers' responses indicate the importance of educating UCYP about online safety and the potential risks of social media.

The study recommends that care providers and young people work together to promote a balanced and healthy use of digital technology and social media. This could include providing education and support for online safety, promoting positive social media use, and setting limits on technology use. The study also recommends further research to explore the implications of UCYP's social media use on their social and emotional well-being.

The study also provides valuable methodological insights for working with this group, demonstrating the effectiveness of research tools based on written text, and the potential of using games such as Kahoot for research and for dissemination of strategies to support well-being.
Effective start/end date1/10/2231/01/23


  • UKRI


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