Net Children Go Mobile and EU Kids Online launch a joint report comparing data from 2010 (the EU Kids Online survey) and 2013-4 (the Net Children Go Mobile survey).
Main findings include:
- Internet use is increasingly privatised and mobile, with more children accessing the internet in the privacy of their bedroom and when out and about compared to 2010.
- Although children do more online in 2014, most do not climb far up the “ladder of opportunities”.
- SNS use has increased for boys and teens; 22% 9-10 year olds and 53% 11-12 year olds use Facebook.
- Fewer than half of children see themselves as “digital natives” compared with their parents. Digital self-confidence has decreased among the 9-10 year olds, only 10% of whom now believe they are more skilled than their parents.
- Children now report being better able to protect themselves online: more than half of 11-13 years olds (55%) say they can change their SNS privacy settings (it was 43% in 2010); among 14-16 year olds, it is now 79%.
- The comparison of findings from 2010 to 2014 shows only moderate increases in some risks, and no increase at all for others. Potentially negative forms of user-generated content (e.g. hate, pro-anorexic or self-harm content) are more common.
- The proportion of children who reported being bothered or upset online in the past year has increased from 13% to 17%; the biggest increases in recent years are among girls and teenagers.
- In some countries, the changes from 2010 to 2014 suggest children are experiencing more of both risks and opportunities – in Denmark, Italy and Romania (and, less, in Ireland); but in Belgium, Portugal and the UK, children are now benefiting from more online activities without an equivalent increase in risk.
- Two thirds of parents have suggested ways for their child to use the internet safely, according to children aged 9-16. Indeed, parents prefer far more to talk about internet safety than use parental controls in all countries and for all age groups; but the levels of parental mediation are not increasing despite parental concern and awareness-raising efforts.
The report Children’s online risks and opportunities:
Comparative findings from EU Kids Online and Net Children Go Mobile is online at http://www.netchildrengomobile.eu/reports/
Or print your own poster of Net Children Go Mobile final infographic by downloading the high-resolution file.
The conditions of internet access and use by children are changing: access is increasingly personalized and mobile, despite the use of portable devices is constrained by parental and school’s rules, financial constraints and social norms. While devices and platforms are new, what children do online has not changed radically, rather, the quantitative and qualitative findings of the Net Children Go Mobile project show that the online experience of smartphone and tablet users is enhanced. Children who go online from portable devices communicate more easily, look up information in real time, and in general have more diverse ways of following up there interests online. They also have a higher level of digital skills, safety skills and communicative abilities. And they feel more connected to their friends thanks to smartphones (81% of interviewed children think so).
But that very ease is also the downside. So while many children believe they are more sociable since they have had a smartphone, three out of four children (72%) also report being feeling they have to be constantly available to peers, and 50% reported feeling a “strong need” to check their phones. So children lament being annoyed by the pressure to be “always on”, distracted by constant notifications and tempted to use the technologies to the detriment of their other offline interests. For more details download the final report here.