January 17, 2013

PUBLICATIONS: Children, internet and risk in comparative perspective

Children, internet and risk in comparative perspective

Sonia Livingstone & Ellen J. Helsper


What do we know of the changing array of opportunities and risks that different children are encountering on the internet? This special issue includes articles exploring diverse dimensions of the EU Kids Online survey based on a detailed, in-home, face-to-face, representative survey of 25,142 children aged 9–16 years old plus one of their parents. 

Children's internet use is investigated on two levels, first taking the child as the unit of analysis to examine individual (demographic, psychological) factors and those relating to their socially mediated environment (centred on parental, school and peer relations), and second taking the country as unit of analysis, focusing on factors of socio-economic stratification, regulatory framework, technological infrastructure, education system and cultural values as possible explanations for differences in online use, risk and safety. 

As the articles in this issue reveal, the sheer scale of the project permits focused analysis of complex patterns and particular subgroups within the dataset. Thus new findings and conclusions are reached regarding the relation between cyberbullying perpetrators and victims, offline meetings with varieties of online “stranger”, children's strategies for coping with online risks, and ways in which digital skills and parental mediation operate, potentially ameliorating harm. Lessons for theory, cross-national comparison, and research methodology are also identified.

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