Evaluation Study of Pilot Cyber Youth Outreach Projects
The 21st century so far has seen rapid growth in the use of the Internet by children and young people. There is a need to take a pioneering and proactive approach to address the changing needs of this group, in particular at-risk and “hidden” young people, using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). In view of this, in 2011, proposals were invited from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for three Pilot Cyberyouth Outreach Projects (PCYOPs). The aim was to develop an integrated service delivery model or protocol that would be flexible enough to address the ever-changing needs of contemporary young people while interfacing with, supplementing, and complementing existing youth services, networks, and platforms and enabling collaboration with other stakeholders. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong was also commissioned by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government in 2011 to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of all three PCYOPs, with a view to recommending the way ahead for cyberyouth work.
reading-767919_1280The study adopted a mixed methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of the three PCYOPs, namely Caritas’ Search’n’Care Project, BGCA’s VR Nite Cat fbI Project, and HKFYG’s eTouch Cyberyouth Outreach Project. Its aims were:-
- To assess and compare the feasibility, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of the web-based service models adopted by all three PCYOPs in terms of social work intervention in the Internet related needs and problems of young people;
- To recommend an integrated web-based service quality model that could be integrated with traditional youth services to tackle the ever-changing needs of contemporary young people; and
- To consider Internet-related ethical and privacy issues and make recommendations for resolving them.