Scoping Empowerment and Identity as users of Digital Technologies (SEIDT)

By Diego Guzmán Medrano

SEIDT is a small-scale study concerning the use of digital media (DM) and technologies (DT) by the Austrian youth. The motivation to investigate the aforementioned phenomenon is twofold. On the one hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has supposed a swift change to online learning for many students since March 2020, which offers not only the perfect scenario to identify pitfalls and affordances of digitality for education but also to obtain insights into what technologies and media students use and what their implications are. On the other hand, students’ beliefs in regards to their perceived competence and identity developed as a result of using DM and DT may be useful for tailoring educational programs to meet their personal needs and aspirations and for supporting the development of a reflective and critical use of DM and DT.

1. Introduction

The use of digital technologies (DT) and the consumption of digital media (DM) has increased in the last years, partially thanks to the rapid technological developments in the last quarter of the century and the improvements in accessibility to the internet.
Statistics from 2018 from the 27 EU Member States show an increase in the adoption of digital technologies at the workplace and households, revealing than more than 40% percent of individuals aged between 16-74 make use of DT at work (i.e., computers, laptops and other specialized machinery) (Eurostat, 2021a). Parallelly, since 2017 nearly 90% of households count with internet access and 80% with at least one computer (Eurostat 2021b, c). These two technologies are used on a daily basis by 80% (Eurostat, 2021e) and 62% (Eurostat, 2021d) of individuals in Europe respectively.
These data also speak for the rapid adoption of DT and DM by the younger generations. Three out of four individuals from the EU 27 aged 16-24 use computers (Eurostat 2021,d) and more than 90% the internet (OECD, 2020) on a daily basis. In Austria above 95% of the youth use the internet on a daily basis, spending on average 5 hours per day using the internet and social media (OECD, 2020).
In addition to leisure, DT are also embedded in the educational sector as a resource to meet the societal and individual needs of the current century and the future workplace. Handling and understanding how DT and DM work has become an essential part for learning (Goldhammer et al., 2016) and for individual development in a networked society (Ayllón et al., 2020; Goldhammer et al., 2016), especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in addition to competence and skill, a critical attitude towards DT and DM is required to develop the so called Digital Competences (DigiComp) (Vuorikari et al., 2016) and to promote empowered users who can see the implications of technologies in their lives. For that reason, as users of DT and DM it is important to have a critical and agentic role in order to make informed choices about their use (Iversen et al., 2018) as well as the possibility to partake in shaping and influencing society’s future technological developments (Dindler et al., 2020; Iversen et al., 2018; Tissenbaum et al., 2017).

2. Epistemological framework

2.1. Digital empowerment
The term empowerment has been conceptualized, in the psychology literature, as the process of increasing intrinsic task motivation (Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Thomas & Velthouse, 1990). In the motivational sense, power refers to the intrinsic need for self-determination and the belief in one’s personal self-efficacy (Conger & Kanungo, 1988). Thomas and Velthouse described empowerment as a determinant for motivation, as it refers to individuals’ satisfactory experiences and positive judgments of specific tasks. This assessment consists of four dimensions of motivation: meaningfulness, impact, competence and choice (1988, p.671).
The concept of empowerment has by-passed the realm of the analogue world.  To meet the needs of the 21st century DT and DM appear as cornerstones of present and future developments. In that matter, scholars have discussed the implications that digital technologies entail for increasing users’ empowerment, like for instance, giving opportunities to be creative, to solve real problems and to critically evaluate their impact (Dindler et al., 2020; Iivari, 2020; Iversen et al., 2018; Kinnula et al., 2018). In this regard, in the literature there are two differentiated streams of though, which although are not opposed, complement each other. On the one hand, Mäkinen (2006) describes Digital Empowerment as the process that breaks with top-down approaches and minds the divide in regards to the access to information by individuals and communities using DT. The second line of thought is known as Computational Empowerment (Dindler et al., 2020; Iversen et al., 2018), and it refers to the opportunities to increase competence and critical thinking by giving people the means to de-construct and construct DT.
According to Mäkinen (2006) Digital Empowerment (DE) is conceived an enabling process (p.391) in which the user of digital technologies becomes a competent and autonomous member of a networked society. DE encompasses the use of digital technologies to promote societal inclusion and develop skills to communicate and participate in digital societies (Mäkinen, 2006). On the other hand, Computational Empowerment (CE) has been outlined as a key concern for supporting the engagement with the co-construction of the digitalized future (Dindler et al., 2020). CE is described as the process in which users develop the skills, insights and reflexivity needed to understand digital technology and its effect on their lives and society at large, and their capacity to engage critically, curiously and constructively with the construction and deconstruction of technology (Iversen, Smith and Dindler, 2018, p.1).
To summarize, to empower refers to the process of increasing individuals’ motivation through granting power (Burke, 1986 in Conger and Kanungo, 1988), which can be nurtured by their own personal and reflective experiences, the awareness of the implications of their decisions and the willingness to make a change. In this regard, it appears that an intrinsic element to foster digital empowerment is to provide the means and opportunities for users to be reflective on the use, purpose, potentials and implications of technology for their lives.
However, the challenge to materialize and evaluate empowerment is not minor. To date, only two scales from the learner empowerment literature (Frymier et al., 1996) deal with DE. On the one hand, Akkoyunlu and colleagues (2010) developed a 45-item DE scale based on Mäkinen’s (2006) conceptualization. The scale was developed for assessing university students’ digital empowerment, but due it its length and item complexity it has been only implemented in higher educational levels. The other DE scale has been recently developed by Kong and colleagues (2019) and it appears to be more appropriate for younger participants. This scale includes four sub-constructs (i.e., meaningfulness, impact, creativity belief and competence belief). Kong and colleagues ground the development of the DE scale in the work of Conger and Kanungo (1988) and Thomas and Velthouse (1990) and they added a creativity component, as they argue that a certain degree of creativity is needed to constructively participate in society with digital technologies.

2.2. Digital identity
Identity is an intrinsic element of our life. It resides within the cognitive capacity of recognising similarities and differences among people within social contexts (Gee, 2000; Jenkins, 2014). Contrary to other scholars that refer to identity as a given state (e.g., ethnic, nationality), Jenkins (2014) coin the term identity as a process. For Jenkins, identity is not something that one possesses, it is a result of a process one undergoes. In a similar vein, Kaplan and Garner (2017) provide a holistic perspective on identity formation from a socio-cultural perspective. According to them (Kaplan & Garner, 2017), identity is comprised by the action, behaviours and meaning that perpetuate self-perceptions and self-definitions, assumptions and beliefs, values, goals, emotions, and actions that are held by the individual central to the role (p.14). These self-held perceptions, ideas and emotions need to undergo a process of recognition to conform ones’ identity (Gee, 2000), which may result in the development of a feeling of association to others through the engagement in authentic practices (Tissenbaum et al., 2017; Wenger, 1998).
In Kong and Wang's (2020) study, the investigation of identity is grounded in the perceptions and values of students when engaging in specific practices. The authors establish a four-dimensional identity latent construct that involves personal and social and present and future identities as different but interconnected realms (Kong & Wang, 2020). Their conceptualization draws insights from social identity theory (e.g., Jenkins, 2014) and socio-cultural theories regarding identity formation in learning environments (Gee, 2000; Wenger, 1998). From the social identity and socio-cultural theories of learning Kong and Wang (2020) describe computational identity as the “ongoing mental construction process of self-identification resulting from total immersion in feelings and experiences of programming activities at school” (p.3). Based on premise, the researchers in this study, describe Digital Identity (DI) as the emergence and development of self-held concepts, values and knowledge as a result of using digital technologies and media. Additionally, prospective goals arising as a result of the engagement with technology and media are also considered.

2.3. Situating motivation, empowerment and identity with the use of digital technologies and media
According to Ryan and Deci (2000) motivation resides within the fulfilment of three basic psychological needs; need for competence, need for autonomy and need for relatedness. In this vein, as empowerment has been conceptualized as a determinant for motivation (Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Thomas & Velthouse, 1990), the overlapping nature of this two seemingly interconnected constructs (i.e., empowerment and motivation) has been already addressed in the literature (Brooks & Young, 2011).
Firstly, self-beliefs, values and ideals (i.e., meaningfulness in empowerment) and the possibility to make self-determined decisions (i.e., choice) are arguably related to the need for autonomy (i.e., internal locus of causality). Secondly, the perceived influential value of an activity (i.e., impact in empowerment) relates to the need of competence. However, the plausible similarity of impact with competence (see. Brooks & Young, 2011) seems contrary to Thomas and Velthouse’s early conceptualization of impact, described as being the valence of the perceived action independent from the capacity of achieving it (see. Thomas & Velthouse, 1990). For that reason, we theorise that impact and meaningfulness should conform instead the need for autonomy dimension as they (Ryan & Deci, 2000) describe it as the congruence with individual values and the perceived valence of the activity.
Next, we agree with Brooks and Young (2011) in that perceptions of self-competence and self-efficacy beliefs from the empowerment literature (Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Thomas & Velthouse, 1990) overlap with the need for competence posited by Ryan and Deci (2000). In this regard, individual’s evaluation of task achievement is an essential component of ones’ self-efficacy beliefs, which in turn influences one’s level of motivation and of engagement. Other relevant self-held beliefs can also relate to confidence like, for instance in the work from Kong and colleagues (2019), creativity beliefs are thought to be an essential part of empowerment as they reflect on another dimension that depicts ability.
Lastly, the conceptualization of identity relies on the agent’s social identification as a result of engaging with the action (Tissenbaum et al., 2017; Wenger, 1998). Therefore, this dimension  would overlap with the need for relatedness (Ryan & Deci, 2000). For that reason, we argue that through the engagement with digital technologies and media, users identify themselves within a socio-cultural context that determines their beliefs, values and present and future engagements with digital technologies and media. 

3. Study

3.1. Aim
This study aims at investigating high school students’ pre-existing insights, use and perceived competence and identity, developed as users of digital media and technologies.

The guiding research question is What are young students’ preconceptions and use of digital media and technologies? In order to provide an in-depth answer, this question is further divided in three sub-questions:
•    What is students’ use of digital media and technologies?
•    What are students’ perceptions of digital technologies and media?
•    What are students’ perceived empowerment and identity?    

3.2. Methods
The methods used in this study are a survey and a questionnaire embedded in an online survey platform. The survey aims at investigating participants’ use and perceptions of digital technologies (DT) and media (DM). Additionally, one section in this survey deals with participants’ technical access to DT, which is an element not present in Kong and colleagues’ study (2019). The current survey is structured in four main parts: demographics (three questions), use and access (ten questions) perceptions of DM and DT (two questions) and informed consent (one question). It contains sixteen questions of which six are closed ended (Yes/No), three are single choice, three are multiple choice and four are open ended. The first question asks students if they use DT and DM. If the response is yes, students are asked about what technologies and media they use (multiple-choice). Next, students are asked if they have access at home to DM and DT (Yes/No) and for how long (i.e., 30min, 1h, 2h, 3h, 4h or 4h+) they use them on average (single choice). The next question refers to the purpose why students use DT and DM (i.e., leisure, learning, both or other). Subsequently, students are asked to select the devices they personally own (multiple-choice) and lastly, students are invited to complete the sentences “What I like about digital media and technologies is...” and “What I dislike about digital media and technologies is...”.
The questionnaire counts with thirty-one questions all together and it combines the Digital Empowerment Scale from Kong and colleagues (2019) and Computational identity Scale from Kong and Wang (2020). Both instruments have been adapted and include digital media and technologies in their scope. Additionally, the Computational identity Scale has also been modified and the term computational identity has been renamed to digital media and technologies, conforming the Digital Identity Scale.
The DE scale contains twenty items, and it is divided in four dimensions (Kong et al., 2019), meaningfulness, impact, creativity and competence belief. In addition to the original scale, three new items have been added. One item refers to the role of digital technologies and media during the pandemic: “Digital media and technologies help me staying in contact with others while social-distancing due to the corona crisis”. This item was added to the impact sub-construct. The two other items “I can find and share information with digital media and technologies” and “I can create artifacts and content with digital media and technologies” were added to the competence belief dimension.
The DI Scale consists of eleven items and four dimensions, engagement, affiliation, actualization and goal setting. Five items from the original scale form Kong and Wang (2020) have been removed because of impossibility of adaptation to the scope of the current study.

3.3. Procedure and data collection
The data was collected via the online survey tool Limesurvey, which is hosted within the services of the University of Vienna. The questionnaire and survey were answered by participants anonymously from their own devices. Prior to the recruitment of participants, an application to the Ethics Committee of the University of Vienna was sent. Approval was granted on April 2021 (Ref Number 00672).
The recruitment of participants was achieved via telematic contact with the schools’ principals. The researchers contacted schools via email and shared the study’s information and informed consents. Then, the schools were asked to distribute the material to the students, so that their identity could remain anonymous.

3.4. Data analysis
All responses were stored in the Limesurvey platform and later were downloaded in a .CSV file and imported to SPSS version 28. The next step was filtering the data. Only the respondents who gave consent were consider for this study. At two stages students were asked to give consent to participate and use their data. Prior to the survey, students read the study procedure and their rights as participants and gave consent to participate. Later, at the end of the survey they were asked once more if they agreed their data to be used for research-related purposes. In the end, the study counts with seven valid participations.
Next, the responses to the survey were analysed and counted based on the nature of the question. For the questionnaire, the averaged sum of the items that compounded each dimension of each construct was computed per participant. In the end, each participant had an individual averaged sum of their perceived meaningfulness, impact, competence, creativity belief, affiliation, engagement, actualization and goal setting. Finally, to obtain the perceived overall empowerment and identity, an averaged sum of the items of each construct was computed.

4. Results

4.1. Students’ use of digital media and technologies
Responses to the survey reveal that the totality of participants (n = 7) make use DT and DM, and that they use them for both learning and leisure. A closer look to the use of DT shows that 100% of participants use instant messaging applications, 85.7% use the internet and at least one social media platform or a video streaming platform. 71.4% use productivity and office software (e.g., MS word, excel, powerpoint) and audio and video calling software. 14.3% access blogs (not specified if as writer or reader), use virtual or augmented reality, task management apps and apps for improving focus. 42.9% use the calendar app and photo and video editing software. 57.1% use document sharing platforms, note taking apps and learning management systems (LMS), and lastly, 28.6% use applications for learning another language. On a separate note, fitness and exercise-oriented applications were not selected by participants, neither any other technology not mentioned in the survey.
In regards to DM, the totality of participants indicate that they use websites, digital images, digital videos and digital documents. 85.7% of participants also indicated that they consume digital music and video games, whereas 57.1% use digital books and magazines, 42.9% consume digital art and 28.6% read online newspapers.
In respect of the amount of time spent on DM and DT, results indicate that all participants (n = 7) use DT or consume DM for at least three hours a day. Furthermore, 85.7% of participants answered that they use DT and consume DM for more than 4 hours per day altogether.  
Lastly, in terms of device ownership, all the study participants (n = 7) have indicated that they personally own a laptop and a smartphone, whereas other devices like desktop computer (14.3%), tablets (14.3%), digital cameras (14.3%), game consoles (28.6%) and mp3/music devices (14.3%) were less frequent. No student has responded owning an eBook reader (0%) nor a smartwatch (0%).

4.2. Students’ perceptions of digital technologies and media
Participants were invited to answer two open-ended questions about what they like and dislike about DM and DT. The response rate for these questions was lower (n = 6) than the overall participation (n = 7). In a nutshell, participants pinpointed more negative than positive implications of digital technologies and media.

•    Potentials of digital media and technologies

Half of the respondents point to the access to information as one of the prominent benefits of using digital media and technologies. Alongside with access, students also refer to the immediacy when requesting information and the unlimited sources of it as positive outcomes of using DT and DM. Moreover, simplicity and ease of use have been also highlighted by half of the respondents.
To a lesser degree, other themes that have arisen from the data have been the possibility to stay in touch with others and be self-taught about topics that one is personally interested in. Lastly, one participant finds useful the availability of technologies and their wide applicability.

•    Drawbacks digital media and technologies

Two respondents point to overuse and addiction as negative implications of using digital media and technologies. This excess, as indicated by students, may have health (i.e., myopia, neck pain) and psychological implications, such as having the feeling of neglecting the “real things” that truly matter and sustaining unrealistic expectations and standards portrayed by the media. Other negative aspects highlighted by students refer to misinformation and media dependency, hate speech and bullying in online sites and social media, obligations to be online and reachable and lastly, to security and data protection concerns.

4.3. Students’ perceived empowerment and identity
Students’ perceived empowerment and identity were assessed in the basis of the two four-dimensional constructs respectively: empowerment (i.e., meaningfulness, impact, competence and creativity belief) and identity (i.e., engagement, actualization, affiliation and goal setting). Students rated each item based on a 5-point Likert scale.
The overall mean of the perceived empowerment is 3.864 (SD = .663), ranging from the lowest (M = 2.55) to the highest (M = 4.60) values. A more detailed look to the data indicates that among the four dimensions, students scored highest in competence (M = 4.119, SD = .743, Min = 2.67, Max = 4.83), followed by meaningfulness (M = 4.000, SD = .611, Min = 3.20, Max = 5.00), by impact (M = 3.800, SD = .577, Min = 2.60, Max = 4.20) and by creativity belief (M = 3.392, SD = .944, Min = 1.50, Max = 4.25).
Next, overall students’ perceived identity scores are lower (M = 3.649, SD = .585, Min = 2.91, Max = 4.73) than their perceived empowerment. The highest scored dimension within perceived identity is engagement (M = 4.071, SD = .672, Min = 3.50, Max = 5.00), followed by actualization (M = 3.952, SD = .524, Min = 3.33, Max = 4.67), by affiliation (M = 3.381, SD = 1.007, Min = 1.67, Max = 5.00) and by goal setting (M = 3.333, SD = .981, Min = 1.67, Max = 4.33).

5. Discussion

In this study high school students from Vienna (Austria) responded to a survey and a questionnaire that dealt with their use, access and insights about digital technologies and media. The questionnaire also investigates their perceived empowerment and identity as a consequence of engaging with digital media and technologies.
First and foremost, it must be said that the sample obtained in this study (n = 7) does not suffice to generalize the results across the Austrian youth. Although several schools with different schooling systems (e.g., private, public; FH and gymnasium) were invited to participate, this study was conducted completely anonymously, therefore it cannot be known nor assumed that participation was distributed across several schooling types.

5.1. Students’ use of digital media and technologies
Regarding the use of digital media and technologies, the totality of participants indicates making use of a variety of them for both learning and leisure, and provide specific examples of the technologies and media they used, but only based on the pre-existing choices given by researchers. No student provided any other example of technology nor media they used or consumed. Also, after a close analysis of the data obtained, it can be argued that there is a lack of contextualization in regard with the purpose of consuming media and using technology. This is especially the case of digital media, as students’ responses denote that they consume many types of media but the purpose remains still unknown. For instance, three out of seven students selected “digital art” when asked about DM, but due to the limitations of the survey, the role students had in regard to DM (i.e., consumers, creators or both) was not investigated. As a consequence, the lack of contextualization is of the shortcomings of the current research.
On average, students spend more than four hours per day using DT and on DM, which is in line with the statistics from the OECD (2020). However, as this study was conducted at the beginning of the schools come-back to “normality”, the situational conditions need to be taken into account. For that reason, it is expected that online learning would play a big role on participants’ answers concerning screen time, but having this in mind, it would make sense to compare the latest statistics when they are published with students’ screen time prior to the pandemic. Next, as part of online learning, it was anticipated that students would use learning management systems (LMS) (i.e., Moodle, schools’ intranet…), video-calling applications, document sharing platforms and productivity software for most of their at-home learning. Our results show that five out of seven students used productivity software and six use video and audio calling applications. Nevertheless, also based on their responses, only half of the sample report using LMS. Therefore, it could be said that the lack of contextual specificity of the question “What Digital Technologies do you use” was a source of confusion for students.  
As regards other technologies, all participants report using instant messaging applications and five out of six, the internet, which would suggest that teenagers are already familiar with fast ways of communicating and finding information. Furthermore, other ways of communicating and sharing with others investigated in this study are social media and streaming platforms, which also appear to be widely used by students. Participants in this study value being connected and sharing things with others, and this is latter evidenced in their perceptions of digital technologies and media when they refer to immediacy, on-demand access and connectedness as benefits of using DM and DT. However, these findings could also explain why some participants feel that they are “obligated” to be online and reachable, as there are several forms they could be reached by either colleagues and or teachers.
Other DT mentioned by participants, but to a lesser degree than the others, are language learning applications, calendar applications and image and video editing software. Two out of the six students reported using language learning applications, which could mean they are either interested in learning something new by themselves, in this case a new language, or in using it as a support of their current language learning. In any case, this possibility to learn independently was highlighted by one the two students as one of the benefits brought by DT and DM when they were surveyed about the positive and negative implications of DT and DM.

5.2. Students’ perceptions of digital technologies and media
Students’ responses to the implications of DM and DT depict a wide understanding of the extent to which these technologies have an effect on their lives. For instance, students have found among the positive aspects of DT and DM three implications that relate to self-empowerment (Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Mäkinen, 2006; Thomas & Velthouse, 1990), such as having access to information and supporting personally meaningful learning experiences. Furthermore, students have highlighted that the use of DT and DM surpass the individual realm allowing them to share and being connected to others, which could arguably, potentially enrich the formation and empowerment of communities (Mäkinen, 2006).
Moreover, students have also found aspects that are, arguably, negatively related to empowerment. For instance, students have referred to addiction and losing control of their use of DM and DT, which would indicate that they do not have the necessary skills to regulate and manage their use. In a similar vein, students have also mentioned being disinformed due to the daily exposure to many sources of information, which also makes them being “unconsciously” dependent on the media.
Another aspect that appears to have influenced students negatively are unrealistic standards in social media. Students have highlighted that they fear that the “reality” portrayed in social media does only represent a cherry-picked perspective. Taking fitness, body appearance and healthy lifestyle as an example, studies have found evidence that body dissatisfaction (Dakanalis et al., 2015; Prichard et al., 2018) appearance anxiety and self-objectification (Dakanalis et al., 2015; Hanna et al., 2017) may increase due to exposure to health content in social networks (Holland & Tiggemann, 2017). Based on these findings, it seems essential to support students to develop critical thinking skills to disseminate reliable sources of information, form their own and independent opinions and strike a balance between active and passive use of DM and DT.

5.3. Students’ perceived empowerment and identity
Due to the limited response rate, little can be said about students’ perceptions of empowerment and identity. Students’ individual scores for the four dimensions of each construct (i.e., empowerment and identity) show great differences. In regards to empowerment, the lowest-scored dimension (i.e., creativity belief) also accounts for the lowest individual score (i.e., M = 1.67), whereas the highest individual score is found in the meaningfulness dimension with a score of M = 5.00. Furthermore, individual scores lower than the mean of the scale are also present in the goal setting and affiliation dimensions (i.e., M = 1.67) respectively within the identity construct. Nevertheless, high individual scores (i.e., M = 5.00) can also be found in the affiliation and engagement dimensions.
In regards to the average scores of each dimension, the results of this study slightly differ with those of Kong et al. (2019) but are in line with those of Kong and Wang's (2020). On the one hand, in this study the higher scored dimensions within empowerment are competence and meaningfulness, whereas in Kong’s et al. (2019) study, the impact and meaningfulness are the highest and second highest scored dimensions. This could suggest that students in this study were confident with their abilities and that they value DM and DT for the attainment of personal goals. On the other hand, this study has found the engagement and actualization dimensions to be the highest scored within perceived identity. These findings are in line with those of Kong and Wang (2020), which indicate that students value and feel engaged with DM and DT, and have the desire to continue learning with and about them, as DM and DT will be an inherent part of their lives.

6. Conclusion

The aim of this study was to investigate high school students’ insights, use and perceived empowerment and identity with regard to digital technology and media. In the end a sample of seven participants responded to a survey and a questionnaire. For that reason, the conclusions extracted from this study may not be generalizable, but they can be taken into consideration as guiding principles for future research.
Based on the findings of this study, it can be argued that high school students make use of a wide range of technology and media both for school and personal reasons. Additionally, students have pinpointed positive and negative implications of digital technology and media, showing a broad understanding of the effects DM and DT have in their lives. The fact that DM and DT have permeated their lives in several forms has given them the possibility to develop their competence and be engaged with them, which is eventually found in their overall perceived competence (in the empowerment scale) and engagement (in the identity scale). However, this information lacks situational conditions, thus future research should be conducted contextualizing the questions with regard to the use and perceptions of DT and DM by investigating the purpose of their use. Additionally, the instruments used in this study may be used in the future, and research should be particularly conducted in analysing the construct validity and reliability of the scale.
In conclusion, this study has provided an initial overview of the usage and the beliefs towards DM and DT as well as the perceived empowerment and identity developed by their use by a small sample of the Austrian youth. Future research is needed to cover a wider and population, making sure to include participants for all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

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