One Out of Eight Children Has Bad Experiences with the Internet
First Europe-wide Study on the Online Use of Children Presented
Twelve percent of children in Europe using the internet have bad online experiences. This is the result of the Europe-wide study EU Kids Online, which was presented at the Safer Internet Forum in Luxemburg on 21 October 2010. Over 23,000 children aged from nine to 16 from 25 European countries were questioned regarding their online use. Children in Germany are with eight percent less probable to have unpleasant experiences on the internet than the European average. “German children use the internet more seldom and less diversely”, explains Professor Uwe Hasebrink, director of the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg and head of the German EU Kids Online research team. “This makes them less exposed, but they also make only restricted use of the opportunities the Internet offers.”
- Summary of Results “Risks on the Internet – First Results of an Empirical Study on the Online Use of Children and Adolescents. Overview of European Results and Selected Findings in Germany” (German, 4 pages, PDF)
- Full report "Risks and safety on the internet" (English, 127 pages, PDF)
39 percent of all children in Europe have come into contact with one ore more online risks. Those include pornography, mobbing (“online bullying”), sexual messages (“sexting”) and pictures as well as the abuse of personal data. By European comparison it shows that children in Estonia, Lithuania, in the Czech Republic and Sweden have most frequently experienced online risks (two thirds each). Lower incident of risk is found in Turkey, Portugal and Italy. Children react in a different way to encounters with online risks. Children are more likely to say they have been bothered or upset by something on the internet in Denmark (26%), Estonia (25%), Romania and Sweden (both 21%); they are less likely to say this in Italy (6%), Portugal (7%) and Germany (8%). “The internet is now central to children’s lives across Europe and they use it for a range of things which are often beneficial including schoolwork, playing games, watching video and instant messaging. So while it is worrying that some children have been upset by things they’ve encountered online, it’s important to balance this against the benefits and to understand that risk doesn’t always lead to harm”, points out Professor Sonia Livingstone, head of the EU Kids Online network at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Often parents are not aware of the dangers and what their child does online: half the parents of children who have been mobbed online state that such things did not happen to their child. Especially younger children are having problems to deal with burdening experiences. “Future measures to support a safe dealings with the internet therefore should focus on this group”, demands Hasebrink.
The results presented are based on a study of the research network EU Kids Online, which is supported by the EC Safer Internet Programme and is coordinated by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Research teams from 25 countries are involved. The Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg represents Germany in the network.
The project EU Kids Online aims to broaden the knowledge about online use of children and parents in Europe. The project focuses on experiences and dealings with risks and opportunities in order to support safer online use. Countries included in EU Kids Online are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the UK. The survey findings are based on an in-home, face to face interview with a random stratified sample of children across Europe, and full methodological details can be found in the report and on the project website at www.eukidsonline.net.