In brief: Estonian findings from EU Kids Online 2020

The use of the internet is thoroughly embedded in Estonian children’s daily lives: 97% of children aged 9 to 17 access the internet every day, using at least one device. Children from Russian-speaking families spend more time online than children from Estonian-speaking families (both on schooldays and at weekends). For example, only 6% of Estonian-speaking children spent more than 6 hours online during the week, while the proportion of heavy users among Russian-speaking children was 14%.

Searching for new friends and contacts plays a big role in children’s online communication. Almost half (46%) of the children had had online contact with someone they had never met face-to-face. Every third child who had had contact with strangers on the internet had also met that person face-to-face.

In eight years, the percentage of children who had experienced cyberbullying had not decreased, despite numerous stakeholder initiatives. Thirty-nine per cent of the children had encountered harmful websites, most often hate speech. Most of those Estonian children who had experienced online harm used a communicative coping strategy, mostly consulting their friends or parents. The latter, however, were not always aware of their children’s encounters of internet risks, as more than a quarter of the children tended to keep their negative online experiences to themselves.

Estonian parents can still be considered active mediators of their children’s internet use and safety. Most of the parents (92%) said that they had talked to their child about what the child did online, and 59% had given advice about using the internet safely. Children, however, considered their parents’ role in the social mediation of their internet use much smaller.

Estonian-language website


  • Estonian children and their parents are active and confident internet users, with less than half of the children claiming they needed some guidance when using the internet; 79% of the parents said that they knew a lot about using the internet. The myth about ‘digital natives’ still prevails among Estonian parents. Only half of them believed that they knew more about the internet compared to their children, even though the data about skills did not confirm this. 

  • Sukk, M. & Soo, K. (2018). EU Kids Online’i Eesti 2018. Aasta uuringu esialgsed tulemused. Kalmus, V., Kurvits, R., Siibak, A. (Eds). Tartu: University of Tartu, Institute of Social Studies
    Summary in English



Eelmaa, S., & Murumaa-Mengel, M. (in press, 2022). Who is worthy of help? Constructing the stereotype of the “ideal victim” of child sexual abuse. In D. Stelzmann, & J. Ischebeck (Eds.), Child Sexual Abuse and the Media. NOMOS.

Kalmus, V., Sukk, M., & Soo, K. (2022). Towards more active parenting: Trends in parental mediation of children’s internet use in European countries. Children & Society, 1−17. DOI: 10.1111/chso.12553 

Kalmus, V., & O’Neill, B. (2021). Through mature and yet fresh eyes: Researching emerging issues in the field of children and media. Communications, 46(3), 327−331. DOI: 10.1515/commun-2021-2050

Pedaste, M., Kalmus, V., & Vainonen, K. (2021). Digipädevuse dimensioonid ja nende hindamine põhikoolis [Dimensions of digital competence and its assessment in basic school]. Estonian Journal of Education, 9(2), 212−243. DOI: 10.12697/eha.2021.9.2.09

Siibak, A., & Mascheroni, G. (2021). Datafied Childhoods: Data Practices and Imaginaries in Children’s Lives. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Sukk, M., & Siibak, A. (2021). Caring dataveillance and the construction of “good parenting”: Reflections of Estonian parents and pre-teens. Communications, 46(3), 446−467. DOI:10.1515/commun-2021-0045

Sukk, M., & Siibak, A. (2021) “My mom just wants to know where I am”. Estonian pre-teens perspectives on intimate surveillance by parents. Journal of Children and Media, DOI: 10.1080/17482798.2021.2014646

Eelmaa, S., & Murumaa-Mengel, M. (2020). “Kui ongi tõsi, siis ise süüdi!” Seksuaalvägivallaga seonduvad stereotüübid ühe Eesti laste ja noorte veebifoorumi teemaalgatustes ja vastustes [“If it is true, then it is your own fault”: Recurring stereotypes about sexual violence in an Estonian children’s online forum]. Mäetagused, 76, 29−62. DOI: 10.7592/MT2020.76.eelmaa_murumaa

Jürisaar, K., & Siibak, A. (2020). Õpetajate küberkiusamine ja võimalikud sekkumised koolis: õpilastepoolset küberkiusamist kogenud õpetajate vaade [Teacher cyberbullying and possible interventions at school: A view of teachers experiencing student cyberbullying]. Estonian Journal of Education, 8(2), 192−218. DOI: 10.12697/eha.2020.8.2.08

Kalmus, V., & Siibak, A. (2020). Eesti noored virtuaalses arvamusruumis [Estonian youth in the virtual opinion space]. In H. Sooväli-Sepping (Ed.), Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2019/2020 [Estonian Human Development Report 2019/2020]. Tallinn: Estonian Cooperation Assembly.

Kalmus, V., Soo, K., & Siibak, A. (2020). Eesti noorte veebiriskid ja nendega toimetulek [Online risks of Estonian youth and their coping strategies]. In A.-A. Allaste, & R. Nugin (Eds.), Noorteseire aastaraamat 2019-2020: Noorte elu avamata küljed [Youth Monitoring Yearbook 2019-2020: Unopened Aspects of Young People’s Lives] (pp. 77−99). Tallinn: Estonian Youth Work Centre, Tallinn University.

Murumaa-Mengel, M., & Siibak, A. (2020). From fans to followers to anti-fans: Young online audiences of microcelebrities. In M. Filimowicz, & V. Tzankova (Eds.), Reimagining Communication: Meaning (pp. 228−245). London: Routledge.

Siibak, A. (2020). Digipõlvkonnast sotsiaalmeedia põlvkonnaks: põlvkondlikku enesemääratlust kujundavad trendid Eesti noorte internetikasutuses [From a digital generation to a social media generation: Trends in guiding the generational we-sense in the internet use of Estonian youth]. Methis. Studia Humaniora Estonica, 26, 17−34. DOI:10.7592/methis.v21i26.16908

Siibak, A., & Kalmus, V. (2020). Äratuskell uueks tiigrihüppeks [Wake-up call for a new Tiger jump]. In I. Ibrus, M. Tamm, & K. Tiidenberg (Eds.), Eesti digikultuuri manifest [Estonian Digital Culture Manifesto] (pp. 63−70). Tallinn: Tallinn University Press.

Lepik, K., & Murumaa-Mengel, M. (2019). Students on a social media ‘detox’: Disrupting the everyday practices of social media use. In S. Kurbanoglu, S. Spiranec, Ü. Yurdagül, J. Boustany, M. L. Huotari, E. Grassian, D. Mizrachi, & L. Roy (Eds.), Information Literacy in Everyday Life (pp. 60−69). Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-13472-3_6

Lipu, M., & Siibak, A. (2019). “Take it down!”: Estonian parents’ and pre-teens’ opinions and experiences with sharenting. Media International Australia, 170(1), 57−67. DOI: 10.1177/1329878X19828366

Murumaa-Mengel, M., & Siibak, A. (2019). Compelled to be an outsider: How students on a social media detox self-construct their generation. Comunicazioni Sociali, 2, 263−275. DOI: 10.26350/001200_000063

Siibak, A., & Nevski, E. (2019). Older siblings as mediators of infants’ and toddlers’ (digital) media use. In O. Erstad, R. Flewitt, B. Kümmerling-Meibauer, & I. S. Pires Pereira (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood (pp. 123−133). London: Routledge.

Siibak, A., & Traks, K. (2019). Dark sides of sharenting. Catalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies, 11(1), 115−121. DOI: 10.1386/cjcs.11.1.115_1

Kalmus, V., Masso, A., Opermann, S., & Täht, K. (2018). Mobile time as a blessing or a curse: Perceptions of smartphone use and personal time among generation groups in Estonia. Trames: Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 22(1, 72/67), 45−62. DOI: 10.3176/tr.2018.1.03

Nevski, E., & Siibak, A. (2018). Young children’s (0-3 years) touchscreen use and parental mediation: Pedagogical advice. In C. Pascal, A. Bertram, & M. Veisson (Eds.), Pedagogic Innovations in Early Childhood Education in Cross-Cultural Contexts (pp. 192-207). London: Routledge.

Opermann, S. (2018). Youth news use in Estonia. In Y. Andersson, U. Dalquist, & J. Ohlsson (Eds.), Youth and News in a Digital Media Environment: Nordic-Baltic Perspectives (pp. 91−104). Göteborg: Nordicom.

Sukk, M., & Soo, K. (2018). EU Kids Online’i Eesti 2018. aasta uuringu esialgsed tulemused [Preliminary findings of the EU Kids Online 2018 Estonian survey]. V. Kalmus, R. Kurvits, & A. Siibak (Eds). Tartu: University of Tartu, Institute of Social Studies.

Talves, K. (2018). The Dynamics of Gender Representations in the Context of Estonian Social Transformations. Doctoral thesis. Tartu: University of Tartu.

Kõuts, R., Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P., Siibak, A., & Lauristin, M. (2017). Internetikasutus ja sotsiaalmeedia kasutus [Internet use and social media use]. P. Vihalemm, M. Lauristin, V. Kalmus, & T. Vihalemm (Eds.), Eesti ühiskond kiirenevas ajas. Uuringu “Mina. Maailm. Meedia” 2002-2014 tulemused [Estonian Society in an Accelerating Time: Findings of the Survey Me. The World. The Media] (pp. 279−298). Tartu: University of Tartu Press.

Murumaa-Mengel, M. (2017). Managing Imagined Audiences Online: Audience Awareness as a Part of Social Media Literacies. Doctoral thesis. Tartu: University of Tartu.

Kalmus, V. (2016). The emergence of the ‘digital generation’ in Estonia’s transition period. In R. Nugin, A. Kannike, & M. Raudsepp (Eds.), Generations in Estonia: Contemporary Perspectives on Turbulent Times (pp. 319−341). Tartu: University of Tartu Press.

Kalmus, V., Blinka, L., & Ólafsson, K. (2015). Does it matter what Mama says: Evaluating the role of parental mediation in European adolescents’ excessive internet use. Children and Society, 29(2), 122−133. DOI: 10.1111/chso.12020

Karaseva, A., Siibak, A., & Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P. (2015). Relationships between teachers’ pedagogical beliefs, subject cultures, and mediation practices of students’ use of digital technology. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 9(1). DOI: 10.5817/CP2015-1-6

Murumaa-Mengel, M. (2015). Drawing the threat: A study on perceptions of the online pervert among Estonian high-school students. Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, 23(1), 1−18. DOI: 10.1177/1103308814557395

Soo, K., Kalmus, V., & Ainsaar, M. (2015). Eesti õpetajate roll laste internetikasutuse sotsiaalses vahendamises [The role of Estonian teachers in the social mediation of children’s internet use]. Estonian Journal of Education, 3(2), 156−185. DOI: 10.12697/eha.2015.3.2.06

Talves, K., & Kalmus, V. (2015). Gendered mediation of children’s internet use: A keyhole for looking into changing socialization practices. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 9(1). DOI: 10.5817/CP2015-1-4

Trültzsch-Wijnen, C. W., Trültzsch-Wijnen, S., & Siibak, A. (2015). Using and not using social media: What triggers young people’s SNS practices? In F. Zeller, C. Ponte, & B. O’Neill (Eds.), Revitalising Audience Research: Innovations in European Audience Research (pp. 176−194). London & New York: Routledge.

Kalmus, V., Siibak, A., & Blinka, L. (2014). Internet and child well-being. In A. Ben-Arieh, I. Frones, F. Casas, & J. E. Korbin (Eds.), Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective (pp. 2093−2133). Dordrecht: Springer.

Murumaa-Mengel, M., & Siibak, A. (2014). Roles of a researcher: Reflections after doing a case-study with youth on a sensitive topic. In L. Kramp, N. Carpentier, A. Hepp, I. Tomanic-Trivundza, H. Nieminen, R. Kunelius, T. Olsson, E. Sundin, & R. Kilborn (Eds.), Media Practice and Everyday Agency in Europe (pp. 249–259). Bremen: Edition lumière.

Kalmus, V. (2013). Laste turvalisus uues meediakeskkonnas [Children’s safety in the new media environment]. In M. Heidmets (Ed.), Eesti inimarengu aruanne 2012/2013: Eesti maailmas [Estonian Human Development Report 2012/2013: Estonia in the World] (pp. 83–85). Tallinn: Estonian Cooperation Assembly.

Kalmus, V., & Ólafsson, K. (2013). Editorial: A child-centred perspective on risks and opportunities in cyberspace. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 7(1). DOI: 10.5817/CP2013-1-1

Oolo, E., & Siibak, A. (2013). Performing for one’s imagined audience: Social steganography and other privacy strategies of Estonian teens on networked publics. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 7(1). DOI: 10.5817/CP2013-1-7

Opermann, S. (2013). Understanding changing news media use: Generations and their media vocabulary. Northern Lights, 11, 123−146. DOI: 10.1386/nl.11.1.123_1

Siibak, A., & Tamme, V. (2013). “Who introduced granny to Facebook?”: An exploration of everyday family interaction in web-based communication environments. Northern Lights, 11, 71−89. DOI: 10.1386/nl.11.1.71_1

Kalmus, V. (2012). Making sense of the social mediation of children’s internet use: Perspectives for interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research. In C.W. Wijnen, S. Trültzsch, & C. Ortner (Eds.), Medienwelten im Wandel: Kommunikationswissenschaftliche Positionen, Perspektiven und Konsequenzen. Festschrift für Ingrid Paus-Hasebrink (pp. 137–149). Wien: Springer.

Kalmus, V., & Roosalu, T. (2012). Institutional filters on children’s internet use: An additional explanation of cross-national differences in parental mediation. In M. Walrave, W. Heirman, S. Mels, C. Timmerman & H. Vandebosch (Eds.), e-Youth: Balancing between Opportunities and Risks (pp. 235–250). Brussels: Peter Lang.

Soo, K., Ainsaar, M., & Kalmus, V. (2012). Behind the curtains of e-state: Determinants of online sexual harassment among Estonian children. Studies of Transition States and Societies, 4(2), 35–48.



Veronika Kalmus (PhD in Sociology) is Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Doctoral Programme in Sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. Her research focuses on socialization, inter-generational relationships, mediatization, patterns of media use, and digital skills. She participates in several international research networks and projects (e.g., ySKILLS and CO:RE) and is a member of Academia Europaea (Section of Film, Media and Visual Studies).


Andra Siibak (PhD in Media and Communication) is a Professor of Media Studies and the Director of the Doctoral Programme in Media and Communication at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. Her main field of research has to do with the opportunities and risks surrounding young people’s internet use, datafication of childhood, datafication of education, and privacy. Together with Giovanna Mascheroni she co-authored a monograph “Datafied Childhoods: Data Practices and Imaginaries in Children’s Lives” (2021) published by Peter Lang. Andra is a member of the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Film, Media and Visual Studies section of Academia Europaea (since 2021).


Maria Murumaa-Mengel (PhD in Media and Communication) is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. She is involved in research focusing mainly on young people’s use (and non-use, going “off the grid”) of social media, different literacies (e.g., digital, MIL, social media, porn) and various online risks (e.g., gendered online hate, online shaming, online child sexual abuse and grooming). Furthermore, Maria is interested in the methodological aspects of creative research methods and the ethical considerations in studying sensitive topics. But most of all, she loves ♥ teaching.

Signe Opermann

Signe Opermann (PhD in Media and Communication) is a Research fellow in Media Sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. Her research focuses on news media and information repertoires, media generations, and digital skills. She participates in international research projects such as ySKILLS and CO:RE. Her teaching activities include topics of social theories, communicating science, media system and media use.


Kadri Soo (MA in Sociology) is a Junior Lecturer of Social Policy at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. Her research interests include child well-being, children’s rights, gender-based violence, (online) sexual harassment of young people, and child abuse. She participates in the International Survey on Children’s Well-Being (ISCWeB, Children’s Worlds) and the international research project ySKILLS. She is currently studying the well-being and vulnerability of children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marit Sukk

Marit Sukk (MA in Sociology) is a Junior Research Fellow in Communication and Media Studies at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. Her research interests include parental mediation, digital parenting, and children’s privacy. She also participates in international research projects ySKILLS and CO:RE.


Professor Veronika Kalmus
Institute of Social Studies
University of Tartu
Lossi 36
51003 Tartu
Tel: +372 56 623 583