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In brief: Swiss findings from EU Kids Online 2020

Almost a third (30%) of Swiss 9- to 10-year-olds use a mobile phone to go online at least several times a week. From 13 years on most children (86%) report being online via a mobile phone several times a day. Risky online experiences are quite common. More than half (64%) experienced at least one of the risks inquired about, and among the oldest children (15 to 16 years), almost all (94%) have experienced one or more risks.[1] The most common is seeing problematic user-generated content, reported by 26% of 11- to 12-year-olds and 64% of 15- to 16-year-olds. Still, many children (29%) who had negative experiences didn’t tell anyone.

Dealing with negative online experiences, most children (36%) try to resolve the problem by blocking another person – which indeed turns out to be the most successful countermeasure.

Many children meet face-to-face with people they met online, and many younger children already have online social media profiles. While often depicted as especially risky, most children associate these activities with positive experiences. Meeting a stranger is mostly something the children enjoyed. And even younger children see social media as a useful tool to find new friends. With the increasing importance of digital media in children’s daily lives, asking them to stay away from such activities seems increasingly futile. It may be much more reasonable to emphasise risk management over risk avoidance – even for younger children. This may offer the best protection while also allowing children to take full advantage of the opportunities the internet offers.

[1] Risks include: problematic user-generated content, sexual images, contact with strangers, meeting strangers, violation of privacy, sexual messages, discrimination, cyberhate, grooming, data protection, spending too much money, excessive use, cyber-mobbing and losing money by being cheated.


Contact with online risks is less an exception and much more the rule. Older age, more skills and owning a smartphone lead to more risky experiences. Therefore, increasing exposure to risks turns out to be a general side effect of growing up in a digital world. This calls for a good balance between the desire to avoid risks and the necessity to manage risks.

Reports and Publications

Full report


Hermida, Martin (2017): Wie Heranwachsende zu Internetnutzern werden.Eine Analyse der Einflüsse von Persönlichkeitsmerkmalen, elterlicher Medienerziehung und Umweltfaktoren auf die Herausbildung von Chancen, Risiken und Kompetenzen (Link).

Hermida, Martin (2014): Familie, Peergroup und Schule als Vermittler von Medienkompetenz. Wo Heranwachsende die sichere Nutzung des Internets lernen. In: Media Perspektiven, H. 12, S. 608-614. Download

Hermida, Martin/Signer, Sara (2013): Wie Eltern ihre Kinder im Internet begleiten. Regulierung der Internetnutzung durch Eltern. Sonderauswertung der EU Kids Online: Schweiz-Studie. Erstellt im Auftrag des nationalen Programms Jugend und Medien. Download

Hermida, Martin/Signer, Sara (2013): Internetrisiken für Kinder: neuste Daten aus der Schweiz. In: Soziale Sicherheit CHSS, H.4, S. 200-203.Download

Hermida, Martin (2013): EU Kids Online: Schweiz. Schweizer Kinder und Jugendliche im Internet: Risikoerfahrungen und Umgang mit Risiken.Download

Hermida, Martin (2012): Switzerland. In: Haddon, Leslie/Livingstone, Sonia/EU Kids Online network: EU Kids Online: National perspectives, p. 65-66. Download


Martin Hermida

Dr. Martin Hermida is a researcher and the head of the degree programme Pedagogy of Teaching Media and Computer Science at the Schwyz University of Teacher Education (PHSZ). His main research interests are media literacy, usage of digital media and its effects on adolescents, and teaching media and computer science to children and teenagers.

Sara Signer Widmer

Dr. Sara Signer Widmer is a researcher and lecturer at the Zurich University Education. Her research interests include children and media, new media, media literacy, media socialisation, media and migration and media pedagogy. She is also a teaching associate at the University of Education (PHZH) in the Department of Media Education. 


The Swiss report focuses on online risk experiences and how children and young people deal with these: 

  • Parents in Switzerland are largely unaware of the potential dangers which their children are exposed to online. Twenty-eight per cent of children who have seen sexual images were bothered by it. Most of the affected children (30%) respond passively, hoping that the problem will resolve itself.
  • Five per cent of Swiss children are affected by cyberbullying. This takes place especially on social networks. Most parents, especially parents of sons, do not know that their child is a target of cyberbullying. Children's preferred coping strategy is to block the perpetrator. 
  • Seven per cent of children met someone offline that they first met online. About one third of these children met someone that has no connection to their everyday life. Only a few parents know that their children met someone face to face whom they met before only online. 


The Schwyz University of Teacher Education, Zaystrasse 42, CH-6410 Goldau

Email: martin.hermida@phsz.ch