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.