EU Kids Online ll (2009-11)

The aim of EU Kids Online II was to produce a rigorous, cross-nationally comparative quantitative evidence base regarding internet use across Europe

It is vital to chart and understand the complex nature of the changing risk context for children and their families, so as to inform policy makers, educators and the public about emerging online trends and possible solutions. EU Kids Online II was a new project designed to examine children's and parents' experiences and practices regarding use, risk and safety online.

Between 2009 and 2011, EU Kids Online II conducted original empirical research across member states with national samples of children aged 9-16 years old and their parents. The aim was to produce a rigorous, cross-nationally comparative quantitative evidence base regarding internet use across Europe.

Co-ordinated by Professor Sonia Livingstone and Dr Leslie Haddon of the London School of Economics and Political Science, the project team included a multinational management group, an international advisory panel, and research teams in 25 participating countries across Europe.

This was the second project undertaken by the EU Kids Online network comprising some 70 experts in the social uses of the internet and new media, media education and digital literacy, childhood and family studies, the psychology of adolescence and identity, legal and regulatory perspectives, and research methods.

Context

EU Kids Online I (2006-9) examined available findings on cultural, contextual and risk issues in children's use of online technologies across 21 countries. It located and evaluated findings from 400+ studies, identifying key findings and pinpointing gaps in the evidence base. Its reports examine data availability, comparative findings, best research practice, research contexts and policy recommendations.

Online risks high on public, research and policy agendas include exposure to inappropriate content (e.g. pornographic, self-harm and violent content, racist/hate material), unwelcome contact (e.g. grooming, sexual harassment, bullying, abuse of personal information and privacy) and, attracting growing attention, inappropriate conduct by children themselves (e.g. bullying, abuse of privacy).

But exactly how common these risks are, how much risks result in genuine harm, how children react, whether some children are particularly vulnerable, how parents can or should act - all these questions and more await cross-nationally comparative and reliable research for their answers. Furthermore, it is important to avoid moral panics or exaggerated anxieties, particularly as these may result in efforts to constrain children's freedoms or limit their opportunities online.

Adopting an approach which is child-centred, comparative, critical and contextual, EU Kids Online II aimed to design, conduct and analyse a major quantitative survey of children's experiences of online risk. The survey encompassed questions about children's internet use, digital literacy, coping responses, perceptions and safety practices. These findings were systematically compared to the perceptions and practices of their parents.

Results and timetable

  • Core findings regarding children's and parents' experiences of online technologies, focused on comparisons of children's and parents' perceptions of and practices regarding online risk and safety.
  • Patterns of risk and safety online to be identified following top-down hypothesis testing and bottom-up exploration of relationships among different variables, conducted on a cross-national basis.
  • Evidence-based policy and research recommendations.

Download report with full findings

Timetable

  • Autumn   2009     Project planning, survey design, sampling
  • Spring     2010     Testing the questionnaire
  • Summer  2010    Fieldwork
  • Autumn   2010     Report on core findings
  • Spring     2011     Contextual and comparative analysis
  • Summer  2011     Final report and recommendations

Objectives

Aims of EU Kids Online II

A robust, comparable and up to date portrait of online risks encountered by European children is lacking. The available evidence base regarding users and their needs contains serious gaps; the methods used are often non-comparable across projects or countries; and the available research dates quickly, given the pace of both technological and social change. To rectify this lack requires a substantial investment, both in terms of funding, given the scale, sensitivity and quality of the evidence required, and in terms of collaborative effort among experts in each country, given the task of interpreting and exploiting the evidence produced.

The project aims are framed in accordance with Action 3.2 (Strengthening the knowledge base) of the 2008 Safer Internet plus programme, namely. Specifically, the project aims to enhance the knowledge base regarding children's and parents' experiences and practices regarding risky and safer use of the internet and new online technologies in Europe, in order to inform the promotion of a safer online environment for children.

Enhancing the knowledge base is understood as (i) producing new, relevant, robust and comparable findings regarding the incidence of online risk among European children; (ii) pinpointing which children are particularly at risk and why, by examining vulnerability factors (at both individual and country levels); and (iii) examining the operation and effectiveness of parental regulation and awareness strategies, and children's own coping responses to risk, including their media literacy.

Specific Objectives

Building on existing knowledge and experience, this aim is operationalised as specific objectives:

  • To design a thorough and robust survey instrument appropriate for identifying the nature of children's online access, use, risk, coping and safety awareness.
  • To design a thorough and robust survey instrument appropriate for identifying the nature of parental experiences, practices and concerns regarding their children's internet use.
  • To administer the survey in a reliable and ethically-sensitive manner to national samples of internet users aged 9-16, and their parents, in member states.
  • To analyse the results systematically so as to identify both core findings and more complex patterns among findings on a national and comparative basis.
  • To disseminate the findings in a timely manner to a wide range of relevant stakeholders nationally, across Europe, and internationally.
  • To identify and disseminate key recommendations relevant to the development of safety awareness initiatives in Europe.
  • To identify any remaining knowledge gaps and methodological lessons learned, to inform future projects regarding the promotion of safer use of the internet and new online technologies.
  • To benefit from, sustain the visibility of, and further enhance the knowledge generated by, the EU Kids Online network.

Workpackages

EU Kids Online II is organised into eight work packages which are built around the aims and objectives of the project

WP1: Project Management and Evaluation: this ensures effective conduct and completion of work packages through the planning, management and evaluation stages.

WP2: Project Design: this will design a robust survey instrument for children and parents, along with an appropriate sampling frame.

WP3: Data Collection: this will see to the administration of the survey and completion of fieldwork.

WP4: Data Reporting: this will address the cross tabulation, presentation and reporting of core findings.

WP5: Statistical Analysis of Hypotheses: this will conduct detailed analysis for hypothesis testing for relations among variables.

WP6: Cross-National Comparisons: this focuses on the interpretation and contextualisation of similarities and differences found across countries.

WP7: Recommendations: this aims to guide awareness, safety initiatives and future research.

WP8: Dissemination of Project Results: this furthers the contribution of EU Kids Online and disseminates project results.

Participating countries

Research teams from the following countries participate in the EU Kids Online II network: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus,  Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK.

International advisory panel

The EU Kids Online II network includes international advisors with expertise in ethical research with children, comparative survey design internet safety policy and child welfare

maria-cantarino

María José Cantarino

María José Cantarino is Corporate Responsibility Manager at Telefonica, with a special focus on new technologies and youth's online behaviour. She is in charge of developing projects dedicated to educate and empower children, young people and adults with the tools, knowledge and skills to navigate the internet safely.

finkelhor

David Finkelhor

Professor David Finkelhor is Director of the Crimes against Children Research Center, Co-Director of the Family Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire. He has studied child victimisation, child maltreatment and family violence, researching internet victimisation since 1998. 

gardner

Will Gardner

Will Gardner is the CEO of Childnet International, a UK not-for profit organisation. Childnet led the development of award-winning internet education and awareness projects (e.g. Kidsmart outreach schools programme) and produced the 'Netaware' report for the EC.

EllenHelsper

Ellen Helsper

Dr Ellen Helsper, lecturer in the Media and Communications department at the LSE, used to  lead on the design, analysis and coordination of the Oxford Internet Surveys and the World Internet Project.

Amanda Lenhart

Amanda Lenhart

Amanda Lenhart is a senior research specialist at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, where she directs research on teens, children and families. She graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a double major in English and Anthropology, and earned a Masters with distinction from Georgetown University in Communications, Culture and Technology.

AnnieMullins

Annie Mullins

Annie Mullins, Global Head of Content Standards for Vodafone, is responsible for the delivery of products and services especially for children and young people. Chair, UK Home Office.

munro

Eileen Munro

Professor Eileen Munro, LSE, is an expert in risk assessment and management in child protection, child rights issues and research ethics for children at risk. Author, Child Protection (Sage, 2007).

ko

Kjartan Ólafsson

Kjartan Ólafsson is a lecturer at the University of Akureyri in Iceland where he teaches research methods and quantitative data analysis. He has been involved in several cross-country comparative projects on children, such as the ESPAD (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs) and HBSC (Health Behavior in School-aged Children).

richardson

Janice Richardson

Janice Richardson is project manager at European Schoolnet, responsible for the coordination of the pan-European Insafe awareness raising network set up by the European Commission in 2004. She led the Council of Europe's editorial team to create its Internet Literacy Handbook.

Kuno

Kuno Sørensen  

Kuno Sørensen is a psychologist with Save the Children Denmark. Since 2001 he was  program coordinator with a special focus on IT-related sexual abuse of children (Child Abuse Images, INHOPE hotline and Child Safety in online communication technologies). He is a member of the EU knowledge enhancement project ROBERT (Risk-taking online behavior, empowerment through research and training) and has conducted research and
published articles on online safety for children.

Wolak

Janis Wolak

Janis Wolak, J.D., is a Senior Researcher at the Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, USA. She has directed US national studies about youth Internet safety and Internet-related crimes and is the author and co-author of numerous reports and articles on these topics.

Agnieszka Wrzesien

Agnieszka Wrzesień

Agnieszka Wrzesień is Project Coordinator of the Polish Safer Internet Node, Nobody′s Children Foundation, Warsaw, Poland. Since 2005 she has been involved in several international projects on children and the Internet, such as Youth Protection Roundtable and eNACSO and is the chair of the annual International Conference "Keeping Children and Young People Safe Online".

 

EU Kids online II countries
EU Kids Online II countries

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