EU Kids Online: children’s increasingly private internet use requires parents´alertness
On November 4th, the multinational research network EU Kids Online published the interactive final report of the research project carried out in 2006–2014. In the project focussed on the opportunities and risks related to children’s internet use, Estonia is represented by the Institute of Social Studies of the University of Tartu.
The final report of the project involving more than 150 researchers and 33 countries presents the findings, methods and recommendations in a concise manner, illustrated by numerous graphical and video materials.
“As one main conclusion, the report states that during 2011–2014, internet use patterns of European children have changed significantly. Children are using internet in more places in their daily lives and new mobile devices have made children’s web use more private than ever before,” said the head of the Estonian project team Veronika Kalmus.
Compared with 2010, European 11- to 16-year-olds are now more likely to be exposed to hate messages, pro-anorexia or self-harm websites and cyberbullying.
One main objective of the project has been to offer policy recommendations based on comprehensive research findings and to create a dialogue between stakeholders. Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda who has just finished her term of office noted that EU Kids Online has been hugely important as the key provider of trusted evidence to help us make the internet a better place for kids.
As main recommendations for parents, Veronika Kalmus emphasises the following:
- Support children’s exploration of the internet from an early age and inform yourselves about the benefits and the risks that the virtual world offers;
- Focus on enhancing children’s online opportunities and coping skills;
- Think less about risk and focus instead on positive content and engaging and fun activities;
- Communicate regularly with children about what they may find problematic online;
- Be clear and consistent about expectations and rules relating to children’s online behaviour.
The interactive final report “EU Kids Online – Findings, methods, recommendations?” is available on http://lsedesignunit.com/EUKidsOnline/. For more information, see http://eukidsonline.ut.ee and www.eukidsonline.net.