We are proud to announce the forthcoming publication of The eGirls Project’s book volume, eGirls, eCitizens: Putting Technology, Theory and Policy Into Dialogue with Girls’ and Young Women’s Voices. Edited by Jane Bailey and Valerie Steeves, this volume will feature a collection of essays from eGirls Project researchers as well as invited contributions from other scholars working in the field. eGirls, eCitizens will be available in spring 2015 from uOttawa Press.
Online connectivity is rapidly becoming essential to social, cultural, economic and political participation, especially among girls and young women who are leading producers of online content. Interestingly, initially utopic predictions from policymakers about the pot of gold sitting at the end of the information superhighway and from critical scholars about the emancipatory potential of participation in digital media are increasingly interlaced with dystopic concerns associated with the mass uptake of networked technologies by youth, particularly girls and young women. Policymakers have tended to focus upon issues such as online child pornography, online luring, cyberbullying and non-consensual disclosure of intimate images. Critical scholars, in turn, have raised concerns about misuse of personal information, online misogyny, racism and homophobia, poor digital literacy skills, and underlying economic models that shape users into consumers, rather than citizens. And yet, all too often, girls’ voices are left out of theoretical, policy and educational dialogue about online issues that directly affect them. This collection of essays reframes the discussion in ways that make space for more equitable and empathetic responses, rather than polarized utopic/dystopic debate. It analyzes the equality, privacy and gender performativity implications of the digital environment and its impacts on girls’ online participation; assesses the ways in which stakeholders construct girls in theoretical, policy and educational discourses; and suggests future approaches and best practices that are premised on girls’ own understandings of their needs and aspirations in an increasingly digitized society.