This project officially called ‘Socio-digital Skills of Disadvantaged Young People’ (aka DiSTO NEETs) intends to contribute with both a better qualitative understanding of how the most vulnerable young people in Britain experience the increasingly digital world around them and tries to establish what the baseline distribution is of a wide range of digital skills and the influence of (the lack) of these on young people’s current and future prospects and well-being.

Little is as of yet known about how positive skills related to social interaction (i.e. networking and communicative skills) and informal creative and participatory skills (i.e. creating and sharing texts, images and videos) are related to well-being of disadvantaged young people both in terms of future employment and education prospects as well as in terms of psychological and physical well-being. There is also a particular gap in baseline data around the digital skills and engagement of young people who fall outside of or who are ‘marginalised’ from the mainstream education system such as young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs). DiSTO NEETs aims to fill this gap.

It adapts the #DiSTOsurvey measures for skills, uses and outcomes and develops new measures related to motivations, attitudes and support networks in relation to ICTs. 


This project is funded by the Prince’s Trust for its 40th anniversary.

This is achieved via:

  • A review of the literature and evidence around digital literacy, motivation and attitudes in relation to disadvantaged young people.
  • 6 Focus groups with NEETs across the UK
  • A nationally representative survey of 800 young internet users between 16 and 24 and a quota sample survey of 400 internet using NEETs.


Princes trust white

Press release 7 December 2016 

Lack of trust in “dehumanising” online world leaves disadvantaged young people further behind

A Prince’s Trust and Samsung commissioned report calls for greater digital inclusion for UK’s most disadvantaged young people

Further information available here.

More information about the Prince's Trust here

Please download accompanying infographics by clicking the following links: : 





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Methodological cover

Helsper, E.J., & Smirnova, S. (2016) Methodological Appendix of the Study: Socio-Digital Skills and Wellbeing of Disadvantaged Young people 

This report is published as part of the ‘Socio-digital Skills and Wellbeing of Disadvantaged Young People’ study commissioned by the Prince’s Trust and supported by Samsung.




Principal investigator

Dr. Ellen J. Helsper is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Media and Communications Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Research Assistant 

Svetlana Smirnova is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Media and Communications of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her current interests include self-tracking and self-quantification, digital selfhood, research methods and design, digital inequalities, and health communication.