EU Kids Online
The EU Kids Online project aims to enhance knowledge of European children’s and parents’ experiences and practices regarding risky and safer use of the internet and new online technologies, and thereby to inform the promotion of a safer online environment for children. The project is funded by the EC Safer Internet Programme. The first EU Kids Online network started as a knowledge enhancement project in 2006. It finished in 2008, where a continuation of it EU Kids Online II commenced. In 2010, EU Kids Online III started, but this time as a Thematic Network. The Network is comprised of 33 countries from all over Europe.
Mission and Objectives
This multi-national thematic network aims to stimulate and coordinate investigation into children's online uses, activities, risks and safety. It employs multiple methods to map European children's and parents' changing experience of the internet. It also sustains an active dialogue with national and European policy stakeholders.
EU Kids Online Research
EU Kids online I (2006-2009)
EU Kids Online I detected the necessity for a cross-nationally comparative and reliable research regarding children’s use of the internet. From 2006-2009 the project’s main objective was to collect and process all available data on children’s relationship with online technological means, as well as any opportunities and risky experiences encountered. The 21 participating countries collected and analysed all available data resulting in policy recommendations of children’s safe use of the internet.
EU Kids Online II (2009-2011)
EU Kids online II was a continuation of EU Kids online I, implemented from 2009 until 2011. The aim was to produce a rigorous, cross-national comparative evidence-base regarding internet usage across Europe. Structured face-to-face interviews with children aged 9-16 years old across 20 member states were contacted. For a precise and complete picture of children’s experiences, actions and concerns with regard to online risks and safety parents were also interviewed. During this phase of the program, initial statistical analyses were conducted and the first findings were published in autumn of 2010.
The project was implemented according to four methodological principles:
(i) a critical approach being required to examine, test and qualify taken-for-granted assumptions regarding the nature, extent and interpretation of online risk, the nature and degree of children’s internet literacy and the effectiveness of parental regulation; (ii) a contextual approach to identify the social, cultural or individual factors that accounted for differential experiences of, and responses to, risk;
(iii) a child-centered approach to recognize and inform the gap in perspectives and practices between adults and children;
(iv) a comparative approach to identify and analyse similarities and differences in children’s online risk experiences across Europe.
EU Kids online III (2011-2014)
Currently the program is in its third phase aiming to complement and build upon the previous work conducted. The goals are:
• To collect and analyse new research lines that build upon the findings of EU Kids I.
• To conduct an in-depth analysis of the data collected during the second phase of the program (EU Kids II).
• To carry out a comparative qualitative study on how children and teenagers use the internet which will lead to the development of new and innovative methods.
EU Kids Online for Cyprus
In the largest study ever made (EU Kids Online), several factors such as internet use, internet risks, parental use and parental mediation were examined obtaining results from 25 countries including Cyprus.
Results indicated that 39% of Cypriot children access the internet via their mobile phone, a percentage considerably higher than the European average (22%). The vast majority of children, 70%, go online daily or almost daily spending an average of 104 minutes, percentages also higher than in Europe generally. What is nevertheless particularly troubling is that despite 73% of children having their own social networking site (SNS), with Cyprus ranking 4th across Europe, children and particularly the younger age groups, lack digital literacy and safety skills. Parents’ ignorance with regards to their children’s online activities and experiences is also evident as among the children who reported having been online bullied, 91% of the parents reported being unaware of this and among the children who met online contacts offline, 82% of the parents reported that it did not happen.
CYPRUS hence belongs to the “Semi-supported risky gamers” group of countries.Common characteristics of the countries belonging in this cluster are the higher proportion of children in the moderates group of opportunities, but they also have a relatively high proportion of intensive gamers and a below average level of young networkers. They have the highest proportion of children in the higher risk/harm group (7%) and average proportions of children in the other risk and harm groups. In this cluster, the group of children whose parents apply restrictive mediation is least frequent compared to other countries, and while children with actively mediating parents are most common, the proportion of children in this group is not higher than average. Other forms of mediation also stay around the average. Countries included in this cluster are mainly from Central and South East Europe.