An EU Kids Online Report—released in October 2012—summarizes how children use the internet in 33 different countries. For each country, key statistics and country-specific commentary are shared about children’s internet access and use, activities and skills, risks and harm, parental mediation and safety, and national policy implications. The report addresses the following questions:
- How do children use the internet in different countries?
- What do they do online?
- Does this lead them into exposure to online risks?
- Is this harmful and if so, for whom?
- What are their parents doing to empower them and ensure their safety?
- What else can be done to support children’s online safety so that they can benefit from online opportunities?
The report indicates that internet use is thoroughly embedded in children’s daily lives nationwide. 60% of children (ages 9-16) go online everyday or almost every day.
Additionally, most parents talk to their children about what they do on the internet, but only half of parents take positive steps such as suggesting how to behave towards others online (56%), talking about things that might bother the child (52%), or helping their child when something arose in the past (36%).
Key findings from the report include:
- In countries where parents are less aware of children’s risk experiences (e.g. Lithuanian Austria, Romania and Estonia) national recommendations emphasize awareness-raising and parent-child communication.
- In countries where the prevalence of risk is low because, thus far, internet usage is underdeveloped (e.g. Ireland, Italy), the recommendation is to encourage children to do more online (and prepare for the greater risks this may bring).
- High levels of personal/mobile internet access in some countries produces new challenges for safeguarding (e.g. in Norway, the UK and Germany, smartphone access is high; in Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Austria, access via ordinary mobiles is high).
- There are countries where the debate about internet safety is still new and safety initiatives are underdeveloped (e.g. Croatia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey).
Read the full report to see more detailed findings and learn more about how kids experience the internet in different countries across the world.
Katie Binstock is a regular blogger for the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, an organization that gives parents, educators, and policymakers the information and tools that empower them to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology and the internet.
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