Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The Potential of Digital Technologies for Transforming Informed Consent Practices with Children and Young People in Social Research

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Abstract:  How children and young people understand and exercise their autonomy, engagement and decision-making is fundamental to learning how to become active and engaged citizens, and to be socially included. Digital technologies are increasingly an integral part of children’s everyday lives and, therefore, valuable tools for supporting social inclusion. This paper discusses how digital technologies might positively support autonomy, engagement and decision-making through the lens of informed consent practices within social research. Current research practices are dominated by paper-based methods for obtaining informed consent which could be exclusionary for children and young people generally, and children with additional learning and support needs in particular. Digital technologies (laptops, PCs, tablet devices, smartphones) offer the potential to support accessibility and understanding of ideas and activities, as well as engagement with and autonomy in decision-making and participation. This paper explores this potential as well as the challenges that researchers may face in this context.

Keywords:  children; digital technologies; ethics; informed consent; participation; voice; young people



© Sarah Parsons. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.