Belgium

In brief: Belgian (Flanders) findings from EU Kids Online 2020

Eighty-three per cent of the Flemish 13- to 17-year-old participants (N = 1,180) predominantly use their smartphone to go online, where they mainly communicate with friends and family (79%). However, the outcomes of internet use are not always beneficial, as Flemish young people are also exposed to risky content online. For example, up to 34% have seen hate speech online against certain groups of people (such as Muslim or Jewish people and migrants), 26% of whom saw it at least once a week; 11% of those who had been exposed to hate speech had searched for it themselves. Only a minority of Flemish young people (7%) had sent or posted hate speech messages online.

Furthermore, Flemish young people were most exposed to potentially harmful content concerning violence (16% at least once a month) and drug use (14% at least once a month).

Flemish young people employ various coping strategies when they feel distressed after an online risky experience. For example, those who had received sexual messages online at least once a month (12%) mainly coped by talking to their peers about it (32%), by neglecting the problem (26%) or by blocking the sender (20%). Similarly, those who are the victims of cyberbullying at least once a month (7%) mainly talk to their peers (40%) and parents (22%) about it. They mostly try to neglect the problem (33%), block the perpetrator (30%) or try to make sure the perpetrator leaves them alone (29%). 

Belgium - EU Kids Online Belgium - EU Kids Online

Highlights

Flemish young people were asked to evaluate their digital skills: basic skills (e.g. changing privacy settings), advanced skills (e.g. using keyboard shortcuts), expert skills (e.g. programming languages) and reflective skills (e.g. deciding whether online information is true). Strikingly, digital skills do not protect them from online risks (while controlling for age, gender and time spent online). On the contrary, 9% with above-average expert skill levels were exposed to risky online content once a month, while this was only true for 2% of those with below-average expert skills.

Digital skills do not seem to guard young people from feelings of harm after an online risk experience: there are no significant differences in harm experienced after online risk exposure based on a young person’s basic, advanced, expert or reflective skill levels.

Reports and resources

Publications

2019

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.

2018

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.

2017

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), art.nr. 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).

2016

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.

2015

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.

2014

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.

2013 

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.

2012

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. 

2010

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). (http://isaleh.uct.ac.za/JREpast.html)

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).

2009

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
2010

Presentations

2019

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.

2017

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.

2016

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.

2015

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

2014

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.

2013

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.
2014
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.

2012

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.

2009-2011

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.
2011

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

Team

LEENDHAENENS 2019

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.

BiekeZaman2019

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-2019

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).

MarliesDebrael

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-2019

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. 

Contact

Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven, Parkstraat 45, PO box 3603, B-3000 Leuven

Email: leen.dhaenens@kuleuven.be