The London School of Economics and Political Science is launching the first ever EU-wide survey which asks young people directly about their experiences of internet safety.
To coincide with the European 'safer internet day' on 9th February, the EU Kids online project II, coordinated by LSE, has announced it will survey 25,000 young people across Europe about their experiences and perceptions of risks online.
Researchers have, for some time, tried to answer some key questions about the safety of young people online, including which children are most likely to encounter online risks; how do they cope with these risks, and how can they be kept safe effectively?
Up until now surveys about online safety drew predominantly on the experiences, perceptions and worries of parents. This EU-wide study will be the first which also questions young people, aged 9 to 16, and will address issues such as contact with strangers, exposure to inappropriate material, sexual messages and cyberbullying.
Professor Sonia Livingstone, Head of the LSE Department of Media and Communications and coordinator of the EU Kids online project, commented on the launch of the new research:
'Existing studies have found significant gaps between how parents view online risks and how children themselves view such risks. Likewise, we know very little about how children try to cope when they do find some experiences online to be difficult.
'By asking young people directly about their experiences and perceptions this research will help us to answer some of the most pressing questions about online safety. It will identify which type of young people are more likely to have difficulties in the online world, how serious these difficulties are, and how what children encounter on the internet relates to what they encounter in the "real world" – as in the case of cyberbullying versus bullying.
'Hopefully our survey will become an effective tool to inform public policy, counter media panics and lead to improved support for young people as they take advantage of the range of positive opportunities and experiences which are available online.'
As part of safer internet day, Professor Livingstone will be chairing an all-day seminar on social networking, children and young people in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
For interviews or more information please contact Leslie Haddon on 020 7955 6651 or LSE Press Office on 020 7955 7060 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. The survey will involve 1000 children aged 9 to 16 and their parents in each of the 25 participating countries: 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 and United Kingdom. Interviews will take place between March and April and the first results will be published in October. EU Kids Online's new project (2009-2011), financed by European Commission's Safer Internet Programme.
2. Safer Internet Day 2010, is on 9th February and under the theme "Think before you post". This will focus on how we manage images online and consequently, how we deal with privacy in digital environments. More information on Safer Internet Day is available from www.saferinternet.org.
9 February 2010