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Children And Young People Dissertation Topics

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Example children and young people dissertation topic 1:

'Sexting': Perceptions of its wider social and legal ramifications among young people.

People under the age of 16 years may not appreciate the dangers of 'sexting', whereby messages, and on some occasions, photographs, of a suggestive or lewd nature are exchanged through texts. In addition to the threats posed by those over the age of 16, young people are often unaware that their actions in sending such messages to peers could lead to their prosecution under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Successful prosecution could, in turn, lead to the placement of the young person on the Sex Offender's Register and other, far-reaching consequences likely to impair their ability to attain employment, lead a satisfactory home life, and so on. This dissertation examines the phenomenon and interviews a number of young people to determine their understanding of the Act and its consequences.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Albury, K. and Crawford, K. (2012). 'Sexting, consent and young people's ethics: Beyond Megan's Story', Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Vol. (3), pp. 463-473.
  • Ringrose, J., Gill, R., Livingstone, S. and Harvey, L. (2012). A qualitative study of children, young people and 'sexting': A report prepared for the NSPCC. London: NSPCC.
  • Strassberg, D.S., McKinnon, R.K., Sustaíta, M.A. and Rullo, J. (2012). 'Sexting by high school students: An exploratory and descriptive study', Archives of Sexual Behavior, 7 June 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s10508-012-9969-8.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 2:

Completing the cycle? An exploration of the standard of care experienced by children who are fostered with adults who were themselves once in foster care.

Although there is a wealth of research undertaken on children in foster care, or upon adults who were once fostered, little has been published concerning the experiences of those children placed with adults who were once foster children themselves. If former foster children were abused in care, do they become abusive carers later in life? Do they seek to offer better care for those in their charge than they received? This ground-breaking dissertation undertakes surveys and interviews with adults fostered as children, as well as with social workers monitoring placements; because of safeguarding concerns, interviews are not conducted with children currently in foster care.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Barber, J.G. and Delfabbro, P.H. (2004). Children in foster care. London: Routledge.
  • Chor, K.H.B., McClelland, G.M., Weiner, D.A., Jordan, N. and Lyons, J.S. (2012). 'Predicting outcomes of children in residential treatment: A comparison of a decision support algorithm and a multidisciplinary team decision model', Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 34(12), pp. 2345-2352.
  • Villegas, S. and Pecora, P.J. (2012). 'Mental health outcomes for adults in family foster care as children: An analysis by ethnicity', Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 34(8), pp. 1448-1458.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 3:

Support networks and facilities for unaccompanied, asylum-seeking children between the ages of 12 and 16: An evaluation of services in the UK.

Most children who arrive as unaccompanied asylum-seekers are aged in their mid-teens (Wade, 2011), which provides a variety of challenges, both in terms of their natural psycho-social maturation and as a result of the trauma they are likely to have suffered prior to their arrival in the UK. This dissertation investigates the services available to such children with a particular focus on support networks that are based upon the child's ethnicity and nationality. Undertaking both primary and secondary research, the paper also provides recommendations for improved services within the parameters of current budget constraints.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Kohli, R.K.S. (2006a). 'The comfort of strangers: Social work practice with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people in the UK'. Child & Family Social Work, Vol. 11, pp. 1-10.
  • Kohli, R.K.S. (2006b). 'The sound of silence: Listening to what unaccompanied asylum-seeking children say and do not say', British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 35(5), pp. 707-722.
  • Wade, J. (2011). 'Preparation and transition planning for unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee young people: A review of evidence in England', Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 33(12), pp. 2424-2430.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 4:

Helping youth to become part of the 'Big Society': Youth service opportunities in England.

A component of the legislative programme of the incoming Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010, the 'Big Society' seeks to empower citizens with the ability to make a difference through their own actions, rather than just the actions of government. This thesis considers whether youth have also signed on to this social contract; it explores the formal and informal youth service opportunities currently available and evaluates their uptake and success. Additionally, primary research is conducted through interviews with civic volunteers aged 14-18 at three different volunteer organisations in England. Finally, it offers reflections on how involved youth feel as part of a 'Big Society' and makes recommendations on how to engage youth further.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Holmes, K. (2009). 'Volunteering, citizenship and social capital: a review of UK government policy', Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, Vol. 1(3), pp. 265-269.
  • Moore-McBride, A. and Sherraden, M. (eds) (2007). Civic service worldwide: Impacts and enquiry. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
  • Youniss, J., Bales, S., Christmas-Best, V., Diversi, M., McLaughlin, M. and Silbereisen, R. (2002). 'Youth civic engagement in the twenty-first century'. Journal of Research on Adolescence, Vol. 12, pp. 121-148.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 5:

Child social activists: Victims of manipulation?

Recent publicity surrounding child social activists, such as Martha Payne (aged 9), whose blog photographing school dinners has raised £115,000 for charity, and Shannon Sullivan (who, at age 12, founder of the youth advocacy group School Girls Unite), has highlighted the rise of the child social activist. This dissertation examines whether children are manipulated by parents, organisations such as Amnesty International (which promotes a 'youth activist toolkit'), or activist-based teaching (for example, where scientific disagreement of the principles of global warming is not presented). The thesis also surveys the literature presently available, and makes recommendations for future study in an arena little served by current research.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Lund, D.E. (2001). Social justice pedagogy and teacher-student activism: A collaborative study of school-based projects. PhD thesis, University of Calgary.
  • Lund, D.E. (2006). 'Rocking the racism boat: School‐based activists speak out on denial and avoidance', Race Ethnicity and Education, Vol. 9(2), pp. 203-221.
  • Rootes, C.A. (1980). 'Student radicalism', Theory and Society, Vol. 9(3), pp. 473-502.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 6:

An exploration of the incidence, forms and effects of domestic abuse during teenage pregnancy.

Domestic abuse can occur at any age, and to any social group. This dissertation focusses on abuse suffered by pregnant teenagers aged 13-18, whether derived from partners, parents or peers. Drawing on current literature, the thesis presents data relating to the prevalence of such abuse, and investigates whether abuse is primarily sexual, emotional, verbal, physical or economic. Interviews with pregnant teenagers reveal the short-term effects of abuse, and its long-term consequences are further evaluated through volunteer interviews of former teenage mothers. Additionally, the paper examines the uptake of protective services including shelters amongst this social group and offers recommendations to prevent rises in abuse of pregnant teenagers.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Barter, C. (2009). 'In the name of love: Partner abuse and violence in teenage relationships', British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 39(2), pp. 211-233.
  • Bayatpour, M., Wells, R.D. and Holford, S. (1992). 'Physical and sexual abuse as predictors of substance use and suicide among pregnant teenagers', Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol. 13(2), pp. 128-132.
  • Quinlivan, J.A. and Evans, S.F. (2001). 'A prospective cohort study of the impact of domestic violence on young teenage pregnancy outcomes', Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Vol. 14(1), pp. 17-23.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 7:

Focus on obesity in Scotland: Health education projects and programmes aimed at the 9-13 year old age group.

In the UK, the incidence of overweight and obese children is increasing; this paper considers the factors for such increases as a background to the success of current health education projects aimed at decreasing the rates of childhood obesity. Further, it conducts a comprehensive survey of the initiatives conducted in three regional NHS Health Boards in Scotland over a five year period, and evaluates the changes - if any - in obesity rates within those regions. Finally, the thesis includes primary research conducted in three schools in Scotland, whereby teachers and school health officials report the responses they have found to programmes undertaken within schools.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Borys, J.-M., Le Bodo, Y., Jebb, S. A., Seidell, J. C., Summerbell, C., Richard, D., De Henauw, S., Moreno, L. A., Romon, M., Visscher, T. L. S., Raffin, S., Swinburn, B. and the EEN Study Group (2012). 'EPODE approach for childhood obesity prevention: methods, progress and international development', Obesity Reviews, Vol. 13, pp. 299-315.
  • McNeill, G., Masson, L.F., Craig, L.C.A., Macdiarmid, J.I., Holmes, B.A., Nelson, M. and Sheehy, C. (2010). 'Sugar and fat intake among children in Scotland: What is needed to reach the dietary targets?', Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 13, pp. 1286-1294.
  • Simovska, V., Dadaczynski, K. and Woynarowska, B. (2012). 'Healthy eating and physical activity in schools in Europe: A toolkit for policy development and its implementation', Health Education, Vol. 112(6), pp. 513 - 524.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 8:

The effectiveness of conflict resolution practices with victims and perpetrators of school-aged cyber-bullying.

Facebook, Twitter and other interactive digital technologies, including mobile phones (commonly referred to as 'cyber-bullying'), have facilitated a rise in covert bullying amongst pupils in schools today. Conflict resolution has been touted as an effective means of diminishing bullying in schools, but little research has been done on the efficacy of face-to-face conflict resolution between victims and perpetrators of cyber-bullying, particularly as, in the latter, perpetrators often hide behind anonymity. In this thesis, conflict resolution and the role of empathy training is evaluated and recommendations are developed for the improvement of anti-bullying programmes, within a framework of both primary and secondary research.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Sahin, M. (2012). 'An investigation into the efficiency of empathy training program on preventing bullying in primary schools', Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 34(7), pp. 1325-1330.
  • Spears, B., Slee, P., Owens, L. and Johnson, B. (2009). 'Behind the scenes and screens: Insights into the human dimension of covert and cyberbullying', Journal of Psychology, Vol. 217(4), pp. 189-196.
  • Turnuklua, A., Kacmaza, T., Gurlera, S., Turka, F., Kalendera, A., Zengina, F. and Sevkin, B. (2010). 'The effects of conflict resolution and peer mediation training on Turkish elementary school students' conflict resolution strategies', Journal of Peace Education, Vol. 7(1), pp. 33-45.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 9:

Are breach actions of youth justice orders prompted by recidivist tendencies, or are they reflections of wider social challenges?: A study

In 2009/2010, 'an average of 9% of children were in custody solely for breach of a statutory order' and 'around 20% of children in custody [had] been found guilty of a breach offence' (Hart, 2011: iv-v). This thesis considers the reasons for breaches of criminal justice orders in those aged under 18, and explores whether such breaches are evidence of a wider disregard for the rules of society amongst peers and family, a reflection of disrespect for the justice system as a whole, or proof of increasingly recidivist criminal tendencies in this age group. The paper reports on existing literature, as well as undertakes primary research through the execution of surveys and interviews with troubled youth, social workers, probation officers, and families.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Bateman, T. (2011). ''We now breach more kids in a week than we used to in a whole year': The punitive turn, enforcement and custody', Youth Justice, Vol. 11(2), pp. 115-133.
  • Hart, D. (2011). Into the Breach: The enforcement of statutory orders in the youth justice system. London: Prison Reform Trust.
  • Smith, D.J. (ed.) (2010). A new response to youth crime. London: Willan.

Example children and young people dissertation topic 10:

Primary school-aged children's perceptions of community violence: A Bradford case study.

As DuRant et al. (1994) note, exposure to violence (especially amongst urban black children) is a strong predictor of delinquent behaviour. Using a qualitative methodology, this thesis analyses the way in which children in three Bradford-area primary schools view violence. In so doing, it comments not only on exposure to violence but also more specifically upon issues of community violence (such as riots), family violence (domestic violence) and violence within the school (primarily through bullying). The paper considers the perceptions of teachers, carers, families, social workers and justice workers, through the use of in-depth interviews and subsequent analysis.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • DuRant, R.H., Cadenhead, C., Pendergast, R.A., Slavens, G. and Linder, C.W. (1994). 'Factors associated with the use of violence among urban black adolescents', American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 84, pp. 612-617.
  • Mrug, S., Loosier, P.S. and Windle, M. (2008). 'Violence exposure across multiple contexts: Individual and joint effects on adjustment', American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 78, pp. 70-84.
  • Schwartz, D. and Proctor, L. (2000). 'Community violence exposure and children's social adjustment in the school peer group: The mediating role of emotion regulation and social cognition', Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 68, pp. 670-682.

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