The digital world is expanding at an unparalleled rate. Increasingly, younger generations are forming relationships and spending more time online. This has led to a cultural shift, raising debate about privacy issues and identity.

To better understand the impact that digital media and commercial data practices has on young people, the University of Ottawa is partnering with the Vanier Institute of the Family, 14 other organizations and 21 researchers and assistants across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong for the eQuality Project.

The eQuality Project empowers youth and encourages equality by generating knowledge and identifying evidence-based practices that promote healthy relationships online. This project will increase our understanding of the transformative impact of behavioural targeting of youth, and the use of online media and its related impact on privacy, equality and cyberbullying.  The research focuses on children (aged 11–17) and young adults (aged 18–22) across Canada, who are key in identifying the needs and wants of this demographic.

Project Focus
  • Creating new knowledge about commercial data practices and their impact on youth, by mapping out how online and mobile information infrastructures combine with social norms to expose young Canadians to discrimination and cyberbullying
  • Creating new knowledge about the ways in which diverse groups of young people conceptualize privacy and the potential for equality in networked spaces
  • Contributing to digital media policy making by disseminating this new knowledge to policy makers and members of the public
  • Creating educational materials that will help young Canadians make the most of their digital media experiences, that are grounded in needs and desires identified by youth themselves, and that are responsive to programming and educational gaps identified by [their] partners based on their on-the-ground experience with serving young people and their families in their communities.

The eQuality Project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Funding has been provided for the co-leaders of the project in partnership with the University of Ottawa.

Project Timeline

This project is a seven-year partnership (2015–2022) and will be updated as research continues.

Vanier Institute’s Role
  • Assisting with project direction by participating, guiding and liaising with other researchers and Partners
  • Participating on the project’s Advisory Committee to advise on research design and methods
  • Testing and providing feedback on educational modules
  • Hosting and supervising two student interns
  • Assisting in communicating the project’s research findings through publications and webinars 
Project Leads
  • Valerie Steeves, PhD, Research on young people’s experiences and perspective of networked media, Associate Professor of Criminology, University of Ottawa
  • Jane Bailey, Research on equality concerns in surveillance, Professor, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
Learn More

More information is available on the eQuality website.

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