Facebook Awards $200,000 in Digital Citizenship Research Grants

by Facebook Safety
on Monday, February 13, 2012

Last August, we unveiled our inaugural Digital Citizenship Research Grants program, a $200,000 initiative aimed at improving understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with how kids are growing up in a world of social media and technology.

Today, we are pleased to announce the recipients of our first round of grants.

Please read the note below from Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Joe Sullivan, to learn more about the researchers we selected and the work they do:

Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. At the heart of this mission is the belief that an increasingly social world, where people can more directly and easily communicate, can have a profoundly positive impact on people’s lives – changing the way we share, discover, and learn.

It was in the spirit of that mission that we announced a Digital Citizenship Research Grants program last summer. We reviewed nearly 100 applications from more than 10 countries. Applications were evaluated by both Facebook employees—including in house researchers, safety and security professionals, and parents—and our Safety Advisory Board.

Submissions were evaluated based on several criteria, including focus on issues related to kids and the impact of digital and social media, global application, novelty of research topic, previous experience in conducting world-class research, and extent to which the research is open sourced and shared broadly.

Based on these criteria, we selected four recipients from academic and non-profit organizations spanning the United States, Canada and Europe.

The four grant awardees have substantial experience in the field and presented compelling research plans, the fruits of which we believe will help to further our understanding of how social media can impact the next generation of youth. Their research is focused on the interlocking roles of teens, parents, educators, and companies working together to foster digital citizenship, use social media productively and reduce bullying.

The grants were awarded to:

Education Development Center (EDC)

EDC is a global nonprofit organization that addresses some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC manages 350 projects in 35 countries.

Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE)

SITE, a society of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), is an international, educational, and professional organization dedicated to the advancement of the knowledge, theory and quality of learning and teaching at all levels with information technology.

Define The Line, McGill University

Define The Line, a bilingual website, is supported by a team of McGill University education and law students who develop resources, workshops and interactive online forums to reduce cyberbullying and enhance responsible digital citizenship.

Dr. Shaheen Shariff is an Associate Professor at McGill University, whose research is focused on youth and digital media. She guides schools, parents, youth and policy-makers to navigate a balance between online free expression, privacy and safety.

European Schoolnet (EUN)

EUN is a network of 30 Ministries of Education in Europe and beyond whose vocation is to transform teaching and learning through the integration of innovative technology.

The Digital Citizenship Research Grants are part of a broad safety program we’ve undertaken, ranging from digital citizenship and suicide prevention to partnerships in bullying prevention to robust safety information on our site.

These activities and programs underscore our commitment to the safety of everyone, and in particular the millions of teens, who use Facebook throughout the world. Facebook believes that by fostering a culture that promotes safety and by working with public and private organizations to promote safety initiatives, we can maintain a trusted environment.

Nothing is more important to Facebook than the safety of the people that use our site. We think that online safety is a responsibility shared amongst parents, teachers, teens, policy makers and companies like Facebook.

Because today’s kids are growing up in a new and different world, we believe that working with partners like these researchers is critical to learning more about ways that we can continue to improve our product.

We strive to be as innovative when it comes to safety as we are in every other part of our business, and the Digital Citizenship Research Grants program is just one small part of our overall safety program. We will continue to create new safety programs to emphasize our ongoing commitment.

Joe Sullivan is the Chief Security Officer at Facebook

Here’s what people are saying about the Digital Citizenship Research Grants initiative:

“I applaud Facebook’s commitment to innovation in areas of great importance, like online safety. Grants announced today will tap the expertise of researchers exploring digital citizenship.” –
Aneesh Chopra, Former U.S Chief Technology Officer

“As Chesapeake’s representative in Congress and a lifelong resident of the city, I am pleased to congratulate the Chesapeake-based Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) for their recent award of Facebook’s Digital Citizenship Research Grant. Dedicated to developing and sharing ideas and research among educators, SITE has been recognized for its important role in helping teachers and school officials collaborate on innovative ways to address bullying. Bullying can happen anywhere: face-to-face, by text messages or on the web. It is not limited by age, gender, or education level, and so this complex problem requires creative solutions–solutions offered by organizations like SITE.” – U.S Congressman Randy Forbes

Dr. Shariff’s Define the Line project, based on her pioneering research in media and technology, truly embodies the spirit of socially responsible digital citizenship. I commend Facebook for taking the responsibility upon itself and leading this initiative; supporting world-class research to understand the challenges and opportunities of our children growing up in a world of media and technology. Initiatives such as the Digital Citizenship Research Grant are imperative in an increasingly social world.- Canadian Senator Salma Ataullahjan

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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