British children are among those most at risk when they're online, finds a study of internet habits across Europe published today (26 September).
However British parents tend to be confident their children can cope with the danger of aggression, sexual content or invasion of privacy at the computer says the report - which compares experiences from 21 countries for the project EU Kids Online, based at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The report, Comparing Children's Online Opportunities and Risks across Europe, divides countries into three bands, of low, medium or high risk. Researchers found Britain is in the high category - for instance more than one in four children in the UK receives unwanted sexual comments online, while the figure in Germany and Ireland is closer to one in 10.
Other countries in the highest risk group include Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the Netherlands and Norway.
Young people in Britain are also among the highest users of the internet - along with Estonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium.
Dr Leslie Haddon, one of the report's authors, said: 'Our study has found that greater use of the internet results in more exposure to risk. It's not the case, as some have assumed, that the more experienced you are online the more easy you find it to avoid risks.
'We looked at children's use of the internet, perceptions of risk and the mediation of parents. Parents in the UK, were among those who had confidence in children's ability to cope with the dangers. Our report also finds that in countries with a high number of child users of the internet (including the UK), children go online at a younger age. Given that most European studies of internet use have been of teenagers, we really need more research on the experiences of younger children.'
The full report is available at www.eukidsonline.net in the section 'EU kids Online reports'
For more information contact:
Dr Leslie Haddon 020 8441 2959 firstname.lastname@example.org
LSE press office 020 7955 7440 email@example.com
1. Uwe Hasebrink, Sonia Livingstone and Leslie Haddon (eds) Comparing Children's Online Opportunities and Risks across Europe: cross-national comparisons for EU Kids Online, a report for the EC Safer Internet Plus Programme, 2008.
2. EU Kids Online is the first systematic European comparison of research findings from 21 countries on children and young people's experience of the Internet and online technologies. Now in its second year, the network is funded by the EC Safer Internet Plus Programme. It is coordinated by the London School of Economics.
26 September 2008