Disadvantaged children get less help and support to protect them from the dangers of being online, researchers have found.
Children whose parents are less educated or do not use the internet themselves and children from disability or minority groups are among those more likely to be at risk online or more upset when they come across worrying content, such as violence, sexual material or bullying.
Although the differences are small (some five per cent increase in risk among the disadvantaged groups) they are consistent across most types of risk examined.
Yet disadvantaged children tend also to be the least likely to get access to information and guidance about living a safer life online. This shows that safety advice and resources need to be better targeted at the disadvantaged, say the researchers from the EU Kids Online project, based at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Their study, Disadvantaged children and online risk, assessed several different types of disadvantage among 25,000 young people and their families from across Europe. These included educational and economic disadvantage, psychological vulnerability and social disadvantage.