Safer Internet Day (SID) 2014 was celebrated on February 11, with the theme ‘Let’s create a better internet together’. This annual event has spread, so that in addition to being widely celebrated across Europe, more than 100 countries around the world now mark the day. Many countries undertook campaigns and initiatives throughout the month and beyond, using Safer Internet Day as the focus. GRID is updated regularly with information about new activities and initiatives, and some of these are showcased on the blog.
The Net Children Go Mobile project was launched in early 2013, co-funded by the Safer Internet Programme.1 It was created to gather data on children’s mobile usage habits as they relate to online use and risk. With a third of children accessing the Internet on mobile devices in 2010, Net Children Go Mobile brought together a network of researchers in Denmark, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom to identify changes in usage, risks and parental mediation.2 Each country is responsible for coordinating a different part of the project, and the countries were chosen as it was felt they represented the cross-section of differing cultural, socio-economic and technology integration replicated across Europe.3 Belgium, Ireland and Portugal joined the project on a self-funded basis after it commenced.4
On Safer Internet Day 2014, Net Children Go Mobile released its full findings report, having previously produced country findings for some countries. Net Children Go Mobile. Risks and Opportunities draws on the EU Kids Online framework and presents the findings of a survey of 2,500 children aged between 9 – 16 who were Internet users, and their parents, in Denmark, Italy, Romania, the UK and Ireland.
The project team produced an infographic, summarizing some of the key findings of the report.
The report contains a wealth of information on a range of usage habits, and will be revised in the Spring of this year, once survey data has been incorporated from Portugal and Belgium. It reveals the differing experiences of boys and girls online, and how levels of parental mediation vary widely by the age of the child.
Country similarities and differences are also reported. For example, parents in Romania were least likely to be Internet users, with only 57% falling into that category. For this reason, Romanian children were the most likely to report that they knew more about the Internet than their parents, with 85% of children reporting that they considered this to be true. Romanian children were also more likely to report that they felt they knew more about smartphone use than their parents, with 92% responding that it was either true to some extent, or very true that they knew more than their parents.
The full report can be downloaded here. The infographic summarizes that children who used smartphones have a higher level of digital and communication skills, but they are also more likely to be exposed to online risks. Despite this, smartphone and tablets users do not report more harmful experiences than users who access the Internet by other means. The report states that the findings show mobile Internet access and use does not increase vulnerability. In fact, while the number of online risks to which children are exposed has increased with access opportunities, the proportion of children who are harmed by online experiences has not.
The percentage of children who reported experienced something online which had upset them has increased since the 2010 EU Kids Online findings were published. One in five, or 21%, of children reported having had a negative online experience which had upset them in the previous twelve months. Children who use mobile devices are more likely to have experienced something negative, but this is within the context of the increasingly pervasive nature of the Internet on children’s lives and is, the report says, something which affects a small proportion of children – the majority of whom had not experienced something upsetting online.
Additional information on research and broader information relating to online safety and related topics at a country level can be found on GRID. The GSMA has also released research on children’s mobile phone usage and Children’s use of mobile phones – An international comparison 2013 reports on the findings of a survey of 3,560 children and their parents in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The report is the fifth in the series, and the Executive Summary can be accessed here.
1 http://www.netchildrengomobile.eu/press/ (last accessed March 19, 2014)
2 http://www.netchildrengomobile.eu/reports/ (last accessed March 19, 2014)
3 http://www.netchildrengomobile.eu/press/ (last accessed March 19, 2014)
4 http://www.netchildrengomobile.eu/reports/ (last accessed March 19, 2014)