Children and Young People Are Also Interested in Political Information: Study on Digital Participation of Children and Young People Published
Hamburg, 11 February 2020. As they grow older, children and young people also use online services that allow them to participate in political discussions and to network strategically. 83 percent of 9 to 17-year-olds have heard of "Fridays for Future". 46 percent of them have looked for further information on the Internet. 17 percent have already taken part in a "Fridays for Future" protest. These are the results of a study by the Leibniz Institute for Media Research, which examined the extent to which children and young people perceive and use the opportunities for strategic networking and social participation on the Internet. The special evaluation within the EU Kids Online study was published on the occasion of the Safer Internet Day. The study is available online.
Still Little Interest in News among Children and Young People
On average, 9 to 17-year-olds spend 2.4 hours online every day. As a mobile device, the smartphone has the greatest relevance for everyday life.
Overall, the interest in news is not (yet) overly distinct among the respondents, but it increases with increasing age. In terms of news, the adolescents are mainly interested in so-called soft news, which summarises news about stars, lifestyle reports and funny or strange news.
69 percent of all respondents said they had received television news in the last week, a good 40 percent used news via social networks, 28 percent on the radio. On average, children and young people have used two news sources in the past week.
Their own knowledge of politics and current world affairs tends to be rated rather low by the children and young people interviewed. The same applies to the feeling of being able to influence political events.
Children and Young People Would Like to Have More Support
Adolescents see a need for support in various areas when dealing with the Internet. These include help in distinguishing between real and fake news ("fake news"), which 22 percent of children and young people would like. 17 percent would like advice on sharing personal information online, on "e-safety" or "e-security" (17%) and on how to help others when they realise they are being harassed online (16%). In terms of participation in society, 13 percent express interest in advice on how to get information about political issues online or how to get involved in politics online (9%).
"The results point to the need for age-differentiated approaches to action or offers of support. These should be aimed primarily at those who do not have the necessary prerequisites and/or very little political awareness or experience of political self-efficacy," demands Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink, Director of the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut and coordinator of the EU Kids Online Research Network.
This special evaluation of the EU Kids online survey on digital participation was made possible by the Deutsche Telekom Foundation. UNICEF, the Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest and the Niedersächsische Landesmedienanstalt (NLM) also sponsored the representative study on children’s online experiences.
EU Kids Online is a European research network that now includes more than 30 countries. The aim of the network is to provide an international comparative database on the online use of children and young people. Since its foundation, EU Kids Online has established itself as an important source of high quality, independent and comprehensive research on children's and young people's online use in Europe. The interdisciplinary network cooperates closely with various actors from politics, media, industry, education and practice at national, European and international level. The results and reports of the network are mentioned in political declarations and are repeatedly used as a basis for the conception of initiatives for more safety on the Internet.
The network has been coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI) since 2014.
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The network offers information via two websites: one in German, which focuses primarily on the German results (www.eukidsonline.de), and one in English, with information on the overall project and the international comparative studies at www.eukidsonline.net.
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