Embedded worlds of virtual and physical lives amongst young people

8.5.2014 Keynote speaker Johanna Sumiala

The research project was carried out amongst young people in their multi-sited lives at the media-city in the suburb of Tower Hamlet in London and Malmi in Helsinki. The work is administered by The Finnish Foundation Youth Research Society and University of Helsinki. Theoretical and empirical research work is viewing social and cultural dimensions of media-city conceptions.

Young people are anywhere in a public, semi-public and private places all the time. The real physical world is somewhere far and virtual, media-city is near and crowded in their mind. Young people are touched by the media-city in different ways depending on their backgrounds. Competition of power relations are taking part in spatially. Self-made culture is made, for example by videos, and the users are producers at the same time. Young people are controlled in order to protect them and on the other hand, young people like to be controlled to feel safe. There is a need for new spaces where subtle and visible hierarchies are balanced between ages, genders and races. Security and control is realized best in libraries as they are semi-public places even though confront is virtual.

The member of Tampere Youth council, Jesse Kosonen told young people uses media for building their identity, school projects, reading news and for fun. He commented there is need for more discussions together with researchers and adults to listen young peoples’ voices and needs whether the safety and satisfying spaces, both virtual and physical, can be create. On the other hand what kind of threats are question about and what kind of semi-public spaces are needed in order to guarantee young people feeling be safety enough.

Tarja Hallavainio

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