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. In response to key areas identified for the project, the eQuality Project partnership has four goals:

  1. Create 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
  2. Create new knowledge about the ways in which diverse groups of young people conceptualize privacy and the potential for equality in networked spaces
  3. Contribute to digital media policy making by disseminating this new knowledge to policy makers and members of the public
  4. Create 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.

This research is informed by youth, who are key in identifying the needs and wants of this demographic. The research focuses on children (aged 11–17) and young adults (aged 18–22) across Canada.

The Vanier Institute’s role in the partnership is to:

  • Assist with project direction by participating, guiding and liaising with other researchers and Partners to govern the project
  • Participate on the project’s Advisory Committee to advise on research design and methods
  • Test and provide feedback on educational modules
  • Host and supervise two student interns
  • Assist in communicating the project’s research findings through publications and webinars

Engage, Participate and Collaborate

Funding and Project Timeline

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.

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

Project Leaders

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

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