In brief

The most recent EU Kids Online findings indicate that Belgian children’s internet use is predominantly mobile. Regarding their e-skills, Belgian youth consider mobile-specific activities (e.g. doing in-app purchases) easier than computer-related activities (e.g. using keyboard shortcuts). Belgian children predominantly use the internet for communication and entertainment purposes, such as communicating with friends and family or streaming television shows or movies. Belgian youth are predominantly experiencing contact risks. More than half of them indicate that they have talked to strangers online, while about a third has engaged in sexting.  

Belgium - EU Kids Online Belgium - EU Kids Online


  • Bieke Zaman(IMS, KU Leuven)  and Rozane De Cock (IMS, KU Leuven) and have been awarded the KU Leuven Maatschappijprijs 2018 (Society Award Human Sciences) for their research on gambling, gaming and games of chance in youth (May 2018).
  • The EU Kids Online team collaborates with and receives support from the Flemish Centre on Media Literacy, which coordinates research on media literacy and online safety and helps us in disseminating our findings. The Centre has published about EU Kids Online, as well as Net Children Go Mobile (which studies the online experience of children through mobile media) and AdLit (which studies children’s advertising literacy and uses methodologies specifically aimed at children) on their website.
  • The Belgian Safer Internet Centre (Child Focus) and the Belgian Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for Training Research and Education (b-ccentre) have implemented the EU Kids Online findings in the development of safer internet initiatives and awareness-raising campaigns. The Belgian EU Kids Online team was invited multiple times as experts to stakeholder meetings, workshops and projects on the topic. Examples are the projects Friendly Attack, SPION, EMSOC, and workshops organized by Child Focus, b-ccentre, etc.
  • In early 2012, the Belgian EU Kids Online findings were published in a book and presented at a research day, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports & Media. The purpose was to inform policy makers and give input for further policy development on media literacy and safer internet use.

Reports and resources



Van Mechelen, M., Zaman, B., Bleumers, L., & Mariën, I. (2019). Designing Internet of Toys for and with Children: A Participatory Design Case Study. In G. Mascheroni & D. Holloway (Eds.), The Internet of Toys: Practices, Affordances and the Political Economy of Children’s Play (pp. 181–203). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave MacMillan.


De Cock, R., Zaman, B., Van Mechelen, M., & Huyghe, J. (2018). Early Gambling Behavior in Online Games: Parental Perspectives vs. What Children Report. In J. A. Mascheroni & C. Ponte (Eds.), Digital parenting: the challenges for families in the digital age. Nordicom, Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research.

Laporte, L., & Zaman, B. (2018). A comparative analysis of programming games, looking through the lens of an instructional design model and a game attributes taxonomyEntertainment Computing25, 48–61.

Nouwen, M., & Zaman, B. (2018). Redefining the role of parents in young children’s online interactions. A value-sensitive design case studyInternational Journal of Child-Computer Interaction.

Schepers, S., Dreessen, K., & Zaman, B. (2018). Fun as a user gain in participatory design processes involving children: a case study. Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children  - IDC ’18, 396–404.

Zaman, B., Van Mechelen, M., & Bleumers, L. (2018). When toys come to life: considering the internet of toys from an animistic design perspective. Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children  - IDC ’18, 170–180.

Vandoninck S., d'Haenens L. (2018). Resiliencia online: la capacidad de minimizar el impacto de los riesgos y de gestionar las situaciones potencialmente daninas en Internet. In: Jimenez E., Garmendia M., Casado M. (Eds.), bookseries: Comunicacion, vol: 18, Entre selfies y whatsapps. Oportunidades y riesgos para la infancia y la adolescencia conectada, Chapt. 11, (pp. 189-207). Barcelona: Editorial Gedisa.

Vandoninck S., Nouwen M., Zaman B. (2018). Smartphones in the classroom. Current practices and future visions. Perspectives from teachers and children. In: Vincent J., Haddon L. (Eds.), Smartphone Cultures, Chapt. 11, (pp. 137-149) Routledge.

Vandoninck S., Nouwen M., Zaman B. (2018). Digital media use within the family: diverse experiences, various challenges. Providing advice for different types of parents. In: Martins C., Ponte C. (Eds.), Digital Boom? Crianças (3-8 anos) e ecrãs. / Digital Boom? Children and screen, Chapt. 6, (pp. 85-94). Portugal: ERC Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social.

De Cock R., Zaman B., Van Mechelen M., Huyghe J. (2018). Early Gambling Behavior in Online Games: Parental Perspectives vs. What Children Report. In: Jorge A., Mascheroni G., Ponte C. (Eds.), Digital parenting: the challenges for families in the digital age. Nordicom, Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research.


Van Ouytsel J., Ponnet K., Walrave M., d'Haenens L. (2017). Adolescent sexting from a social learning perspective. Telematics and Informatics, 34 (1), 287-298.

Zaman B., Mifsud C. (2017). Editorial: Young children’s use of digital media and parental mediation. Cyberpsychology - Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 11 (3), CP2017-3-xx.

Nouwen M., JafariNaimi N., Zaman B. (2017). Parental controls: reimagining technologies for parent-child interaction. Proceedings of 15th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work - Exploratory Papers: Vol. 2017. European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. Sheffield, 28/8-1/9/2017 (pp. 18-34) European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET).


Vandoninck S. (2016). Omgaan met online risico's. Welke jongeren zijn meer kwetsbaar online?. Welwijs: Wisselwerking Onderwijs en Welzijnswerk, 27 (3), 13-15.

Vandoninck S., d'Haenens L. (2016). Children who struggle more than others with online profile hacking: the role of personal characteristics and social context. In: , ICT Kids Online Brazil 2015, (pp. 229-239). Sao Paulo: Brazilian Internet Steering Committee.

Dinh T., Farrugia L., O'Neill B., Vandoninck S., Velicu A. (2016). Internet Safety Helplines: Exploratory Study First Findings, 8 pp: Better Internet for Kids.

Dinh T., Farrugia L., O'Neill B., Vandoninck S., Velicu A. (2016). Insafe Helplines. Operations, effectiveness and emerging issues for internet safety helplines, 78 pp: European Schoolnet/Kapersky Helpline Fund.

Zaman B., Nouwen M., Vanattenhoven J., de Ferrerre E., Van Looy J. (2016). A Qualitative Inquiry into the Contextualized Parental Mediation Practices of Young Children’s Digital Media Use at Home. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 60 (1), 1-22.

Zaman B., Nouwen M. (2016). Parental controls: advice for parents, researchers and industry, 9 pp: EU kids online.


Vandoninck S., d'Haenens L. (2015). Children's online coping strategies: Rethinking coping typologies in a risk-specific approach. Journal of Adolescence, 45 (2015), 225-236.

Bosman J., Bayraktar F., d'Haenens L. (2015). Children's digital media practices within the European family home: Does perceived discrimination matter?. Journal of Children and Media, 9 (A), 77-94.


Vandoninck S., d'Haenens L. (2014). Ways to avoid problematic situations and negative experiences: children's preventive measures online. Communications: the European Journal of Communication Research, 39 (3), 261-282.

Mertens S., d'Haenens L. (2014). Parental mediation of internet use and cultural values across Europe: Investigating the predictive power of the Hofstedian paradigm. Communications: the European Journal of Communication Research, 39 (4), 389-414.

van Ouytsel J., Walrave M., Ponnet K., d'Haenens L. (2014). Prevalentie van sexting bij Vlaamse jongeren: een verkennende studie. TOKK: Tijdschrift voor Orthopedagogiek, Kinderpsychiatrie en Klinische Kinderpsychologie, 39 (4), 114-126.

Vandoninck S., Barbovschi M. (2014). Dealing with problematic situations online: preventive measures and coping. In: Smahel D., Wright M. (Eds.), The meaning of online problematic situations for children: results of qualitative cross-cultural investigation in nine European countries, Chapt. 6, (pp. 74-125). London: London School of Economics and Political Science.

Vandoninck S., d'Haenens L., Smahel D. (2014). Preventive measures: how youngsters avoid online risks. Eu Kids online, 1-5 pp. London: EU Kids Online.

Vandoninck S., d'Haenens L., Ichau E. (2014). Net Children go Mobile: Rapport België, 116 pp. Brussels: Cultuur, Jeugd, Sport, Media.

Vandoninck S. (2014). Net Children go Mobile - Online op school?. Ghent: Mediawijs.


Barbovschi, M., Green, L., & Vandoninck, S. (eds.) (2013). Innovative approaches for investigating how children understand risk in new media. Dealing with methodological and ethical challenges. London: EU Kids Online, London School of Economics and Political Science.

d'Haenens, Leen and Vandoninck, Sofie and Donoso, Verónica (2013) How to cope and build online resilience? EU Kids Online Network, London, UK.

Vandoninck, S., d’Haenens, L. & Roe, K. (2013). Online Risks. Coping strategies of less resilient children and teenagers across Europe. Journal of Children & Media.


Bauwens, J. & Segers, K. (2012) ‘Het internetgebruik van Nederlandstalige en Franstalige jongeren: cultuurverschillen tussen Vlaanderen en Wallonië’, pp 29 – 48, in L. d'Haenens & S. Vandoninck (eds.) Kids online: Kansen en risico's van kinderen en jongeren op het internet. Gent: Academia Press.

Bauwens, J. (2012) ‘Omgaan met online kansen en risico's: volwassen bemiddeling versus zelfbemiddeling’, pp. 111-132, in in L. d'Haenens & S. Vandoninck (eds.) Kids online: Kansen en risico's van kinderen en jongeren op het internet. Gent: Academia Press.

Bauwens, J. & Vleugels, C. (2012) ‘The Social Meaning of Young People’s Online Creativity’, pp. 79-100, in M. Walrave et al. (eds.) EYouth: Balancing Between Opportunities and Risks. Brussels: Peter Lang.

Bauwens, J. (2012) ‘Teenagers, the Internet and morality’, pp. 31-48, in E. Loos, L. Haddon & E. Mante-Meijer (eds.) Generational Use of New Media. Farnham: Ashgate.

L. d’Haenens & S. Vandoninck (reds.) (2012). Kids Online. Kansen en risico’s van kinderen en jongeren op het internet. Gent: Academia Press

Paus-Hasebrink, I., Ponte, C., Duerager A. & Bauwens, J. (2012) ‘Similarities and Differences across Children’, pp. 255-269, in S. Livingstone et al. (eds.) Children, Risk and Safety Online: Research and Policy Challenges in Comparative Perspectives. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Paus-Hasebrink, I., Bauwens, J., Duerager, A. & Ponte, C. (2012) ‘Exploring Types of Parent–Child Relationship and Internet Use across Europe’, Journal of Children and Media, 6 (4): 114-132.

Vandoninck, S., d’Haenens, L., De Cock, R. & Donoso, V. (2012). Social networking sites and contact risks among Flemish youth. Childhood, 19 (1), pp. 69-85

Vandoninck, S., d’Haenens, L., & Segers, K. (2012). Coping and resilience: Children’s responses to online risks. In S. Livingstone, L. Haddon & A. Görzig (Eds.), Children, risk and safety on the internet, (pp. 205–218). Bristol: The Policy Press. 


Bauwens, J., Walrave, M. & Lobet-Maris, C. (2010) ‘Jong geleerd, oud gedaan. Internetvaardigheden van tieners’, pp. 63-75, in K. Segers & J. Bauwens (eds.) Maak mij wat wijs! Werken aan mediageletterdheid. Lannoo.

Bauwens, J. & Segers, K. (2010) ‘Conclusie: wijs, wijzer, wijst’, pp. 220-224, in K. Segers & J. Bauwens (eds.) Maak mij wat wijs! Werken aan mediageletterdheid. Lannoo.

Ponte, C., Bauwens, J. & Mascheroni, G. (2010) ‘News and children’s communication rights: A comparative analysis of 13 European quality newspapers’, JRE on-line Journal(Journalism Research and Education Section IAMCR). (

Segers, K. & Bauwens, J. (2010) ‘Inleiding: Mediageletterdheid is nooit af’, pp. 11-22, in K. Segers & J. Bauwens (eds.) Maak mij wat wijs! Werken aan mediageletterdheid. Lannoo.

Bauwens, J. (2008) ‘Discours over jongeren in de nieuwsmedia. Over “cool kids” en “YouTube Killers”’, Tijdschrift voor Jeugdrecht en Kinderrechten, 5, 296-301.

Segers, K. & Bauwens, J. (eds.) (2010) Maak mij wat wijs! LannooCampus.

Vandoninck, S., d'Haenens, L. & Donoso, V. (2010). Digitale geletterdheid bij Vlaamse jongeren: hoe gaan ze om met online content risico's. Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap.

Vandoninck, S., d’Haenens, L. & Donoso, V. (2010). Digital literacy of Flemish youth: how do they handle online content risks. Communications, 35 (pp. 397-416).


Bauwens, J. (2009). Kinderen, nieuwsmedia en communicatieve rechten: mission impossible? In: Kinderrechtenforum 6, Beeldvorming over kinderen en jongeren, Gent: Kinderrechtencoalitie Vlaanderen: 35-41.

Bauwens, J., Gallez, S., Lobet-Maris, C. & Vleugels, C. (2009). Onderzoek/ internetgeneratie onthuld. In: Smakers, jongeren en cultuur 2008. Brussel: CJP: 18-24.

Bauwens, J., Pauwels, C., Lobet-Maris, C., Poullet, Y. & Walrave, M. (2009). Cyberteens, cyberrisks, cybertools. Tieners en ICT, risico's en opportuniteiten. Gent: Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid/Academia Press.

Bauwens, J. , Pauwels, C. , Lobet-Maris, C., Poullet, Y. & Walrave, M. (2009) Cyberteens, cyberrisks, cybertools. Tieners en ICT, risico’s en opportuniteiten. Gent: Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid/Academia Press.

Ponte, C., Bauwens, J & Mascheroni, G. (2009) ‘Children and the internet in the news: agency, voices and agendas, pp. 159-171, in Sonia Livingstone & Leslie Haddon (eds.) Kids Online: Opportunities and Risks for Children. Bristol: The Policy Press



Vissenberg, J., Debrael, M., & d’Haenens, L. (2019). Determinants of adolescents’ internet skill levels: internet access, use, and guidance from parents, teachers, and peers. Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, Nijmegen, 7-8 February 2019.

d’Haenens, L., Vissenberg, J., & Debrael, M. (2019). Individual, contextual, and internet use factors as determinants of Flemish teens’ digital skill levels and their well-being. Makara Human Behavior Studies in Asia “Young People and Media Conference”, Jakarta, 8-9 January 2019.


Van Royen K., Poels K., Vandebosch H., Zaman B. (2017). Think Twice to be Nice? A User Experience Study on a Reflective Interface to Reduce Cyber Harassment on Social Networking Sites. International Communication Association. San Diego, CA, 25-29 May 2017.


Vandoninck S. (2016). Online profile hacking: which children struggle more?. ECREA. Prague, 9-12 November 2016.

Van Coillie J., Zaman B. (2016). Young Children and Digital Literacy in Flanders. ECREA. Praag, 8-9 november 2016.

Holloway D., Zaman B., Green L. (2016). Addicted to the automated control of children online?. Symposium “Automating the Everyday”. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 8-9 December 2016.


Vandoninck S. (2015). YECREA young scholars' special session: Dealing with online risks. ECREA pre-conference workshop. London, 3 September 2015


Vandoninck S. (2014). Ways to avoid problematic situations and negative experiences. Children’s preventive coping strategies online. ECREA. Lisbon, 12-15 November 2014.

Vandoninck S. (2014). Internetgedrag van minderjarigen: trends en risico's. Research Day B-CCentre and LINC. Leuven, 2 april 2014.

Vandoninck S. (2014). Omgaan met online risico's. Resultaten kwalitatief onderzoek. Apestaartjaren. Ghent, 20 May 2014.


Vandoninck, S. & d'Haenens, L. (21.03.2013). Coping with online risks with an emphasis on less resilient children and teenagers. Youth 2.0. Connecting, sharing and Empowering? International Workshop. University of Antwerp, Antwerp.

d’Haenens, L. (18.04.2013). In Their Own Words. Research presentation for the ICT Coalition of a Safer Use of Connected Devices and Online Services by Children and Young People in the EU at Google headquarters. Brussels.
Vandoninck, S. (13.02.2014). Lesmateriaal ter bevordering van online veiligheid en mediawijsheid. SPION workshop. Child Focus, Laken.

Vandoninck, S. (02.04.2014). Internetgedrag van minderjarigen: trends and risico’s.[Online behaviour of minors: trends and risks]. Research Day B-CCentre and LINC. KULeuven, Leuven.

Vandoninck, S. & Donoso, V. (02.04.2014). Open gesprek: vragen, noden en zorgen uit het onderwijs. Research Day B-CCentre and LINC. KULeuven, Leuven.


d'Haenens, L. & Vandoninck, S. (08.02.2012). EU Kids Online onderzoek internetgebruik en -vaardigheden, en online risico’s bij 9- tot 16-jarigen. Presentatie op Studiedag Kids Online, Iers College, Leuven.

Vandoninck, S. (08.02.2012). Jongens en meisjes: gendergelijkenissen en -verschillen in cyberspace. Presentatie op Studiedag Kids Online, Iers College, Leuven

d'Haenens, L. (08.02.2012). Online weerbaarheid; zelfregulering en coping-strategieën in relatie tot psychosociale en contextuele kenmerken. Presentatie op Studiedag Kids Online, Iers College, Leuven

Bauwens, J. (08.02.2012). De sociabiliteit van het internet: 'off' en 'on'. Jongeren en communicatiemedia; face-to-face en virtuele sociabiliteit. Presentatie op Studiedag Kids Online, Iers College, Leuven
Segers, K. (08.02.2012). Online weerbaarheid: restrictieve en mediërende rol van de ouders. Presentatie op Studiedag Kids Online, Iers College, Leuven

Segers, K. (08.02.2012). Implicaties voor beleid. Presentatie op Studiedag Kids Online, Iers College, Leuven

Mertens, S. (08.02.2012). De digitale jongerencultuur in België en Nederland. Presentatie op Studiedag Kids Online, Iers College, Leuven

Vandoninck, S. (10.02.2012). Over- of onderrapportering bij onderzoek naar internetrisico's. Presentatie op Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen KU Leuven, Leuven

d'Haenens, L. (30.11.2012). Online vulnerability and resilience among children across Europe. Presentatie op 10th International Conference Cyberspace 2012. Masaryk University, Brno.


Bauwens, J. (2009). Tieners en internet: een kwestie van risico's en/of kansen? Paper gebracht op Nascholing leerkrachten niet-confessionele zedenleer 'De verdwijnende kindertijd: perceptie of realiteit?', VUB, Brussel, 3 februari 2009.

Bauwens, J. (2010). ICT in the family. Session chaired at the E-youth balancing between opportunities and risks conference, Antwerp, Belgium, 27-28 May 2010.

Bauwens, J. (2010). The social value of young people's online creativity. Paper presented at the E-youth balancing between opportunities and risks conference, Antwerp, Belgium, 27-28 May 2010.

d'Haenens, L. (2010). Internet uses, experience of online risks & harm, and coping strategies among European children. Initial findings from EU Kids Online. Presentation at IPTS workshop IPTS Workshop on 'The Paradoxes of ICTs and Social Inclusion: Do ICTs Increase Opportunities for Young People at Risk?' (Belgian).

d'Haenens, L. (2010). Online risks among Belgian children; first results of EU Kids Online study. Presentation at 'Apestaartjaren' in Ghent, organised by Jeugdwerknet.

Donoso, V. (2010). Digital Divides. Session chaired at the E-youth balancing between opportunities and risks conference, Antwerp, Belgium, 27-28 May 2010.

Segers, K. (2010). Online participation. Session chaired at the E-youth balancing between opportunities and risks conference, Antwerp, Belgium, 27-28 May.

Segers, K. & D'Haenens, L. (2010). Children in the Web 2.0 world – the researchers' perspective', Workshop 'The internet and society: empirical perspectives on Europe', organised by Oxford Internet Institute, Brussels, Google.

Vandoninck, S. (2010). SNS among Flemish youth. Contact risks and opportunities. Paper presented at the E-youth balancing between opportunities and risks conference, Antwerp, Belgium, 27-28 May 2010.

Vandoninck, S. (2010). EU Kids Online. Online risks among Belgian children.Presentation at Apestaartjaren 3.1 of Jeudwerknet in Ghent, Belgium.

Vandoninck, S. (24.05.2011). Cyberpesten in Vlaanderen: hoe erg is het probleem? Resultaten van het EU Kids Online onderzoek. Presentatie op de Studiedag Stop Cyberpesten van het Departement Onderwijs & Vorming in Brussel.

Vandoninck, S. (06.10.2011). Veilig Online: negatieve ervaringen bij 9-16 jarigen. Resultaten van het EU Kids Online onderzoek. Presentatie op Studiedag 'weerbaar op het web' van VIPJeugd in Brussel



Leen d’Haenens is Full Professor at the Institute for Media Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Leuven (KU Leuven). Through her involvement as the co-ordinator for Belgium in the Europe-wide EUKIDS Online network and the Net Children Go Mobile cross-country research team, she has become familiar with the set-up, management and maintenance of large survey data sets. She advised the Flemish government about its role in steering media literacy, in ways to foster the development of online resilience and online coping strategies targeted at children at risk. Currently she is promoter of two research consortiums: the SBO-project DIAMOND on measuring and improving News Diversity, 2017-2020, and the Belspo-project IM2MEDIATE on refugees and media, 2017-2019.


Bieke Zaman is associate professor (01.10.2019- present) and head of the Meaningful Interactions Lab (Mintlab) at the KU Leuven, Belgium.  Her research is situated at the intersection of communication sciences and Human-Computer Interaction research.  Bieke Zaman is the recipient of the KU Leuven Society Award Human Sciences 2018.  She is a Steering Committee Member of the Leuven Centre on Information and Communication Technology (LICT) and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction. Bieke has an international reputation for her commitment to the organization of international conferences and networks, for instance being the Vice-Chair of the Children, Youth and Media Temporary Working Group of ECREA, the European Communication Research and Education Association and co-organizer of the yearly Interaction Design and Children conference.


Joke Bauwens is senior lecturer at the Department of Communication Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and heads the research center for Culture, Emancipation, Media and Society (CEMESO). Her research and publications examine young people’s engagement with media, the relation between online media and morality, and the digitization of media and culture (e.g. broadcasting).


Marlies Debrael started a PhD at the Institute for Media Studies (KU Leuven) in 2017 on the impact of media representations of immigrants and refugees on young people’s attitudes towards these minorities. Also in 2017, she joined the EU Kids Online Network where she took up the Belgian 2018 data-collection. She obtained a Master’s degree in Communication Studies and one in Philosophy and Ethics at the Free University of Brussels. Marlies has a great interest in ethical issues relating to the media and society, especially with regard to youngsters and/or minorities.


Joyce Vissenberg is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Media Studies (KU Leuven) since 2018. Her research interests include digital literacy, especially in children and youth. Her PhD is on adolescents’ credibility assessment strategies of online news. In 2018, Joyce joined the EU Kids Online Network where she is currently the contact person for the Belgian team. She obtained a Master’s degree in Communication Studies at KU Leuven. 



Leen d’Haenens
Institute for Media Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences
KU Leuven
Parkstraat 45
B-3000 Leuven

Tel.: +32 16 32 36 20