18th July 2012

Spring 2012 – The “My Coping” web pages, developed by the Huddersfield University Learning Technology team as part of the 7th Framework COPING Research Project, have been launched.

The pages feature consultation from children with imprisoned parents. Children and young people affected by parental incarceration, for example, are invited to e-mail their thoughts and experiences on a variety of issues surrounding their lives. Topics include highlighting their ideas about how the experience of visiting parents in prison could be improved and what has helped them to cope with having a parent in prison. Artwork, stories and poems are also encouraged on the site. All contributions are moderated and then posted on the web page in the form of an on-going blog in which young people can follow and respond.

All postings are anonymous and there is no live interaction on the web pages to avoid any of the security risks that can occur on social networking sites. Young people log on to the website via a password system. The web pages also contain useful links to sources of support, and allow children to view presentations that have been devised by other young people who have participated in the COPING Project.

The web pages act as an additional research tool for COPING in that they allow a broad range of children to contribute their perspectives to the project – adding to the information already gathered through questionnaires, in depth interviews, and stakeholder consultations. Many young people feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts through email face-to-face interaction. In addition, the web pages provide the chance for children and young people to derive peer support from reading contributions and understanding there are other young people affected by parental incarceration.

Electronic flyers are used to inform young people about the existence of the web pages, and have been distributed widely across the U.K. to organisations working with families affected by parental imprisonment in order to encourage as much participation amongst children as possible. The flyer is displayed in prison visitor centres and other places where children with a parent in prison are likely to see it.

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Author: rmchristen