Researching online risks and opportunities across europe emerging patterns from a european project
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Researching Online Risks and Opportunities Across Europe: Emerging Patterns from a European Project. Joke BAUWENS, Bojana LOBE, Katia SEGERS and Liza TSALIKI. Introduction.

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Joke BAUWENS, Bojana LOBE, Katia SEGERS and Liza TSALIKI

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Researching online risks and opportunities across europe emerging patterns from a european project

Researching Online Risks and Opportunities Across Europe:Emerging Patterns from a European Project

Joke BAUWENS, Bojana LOBE, Katia SEGERS and Liza TSALIKI


Introduction

Introduction

Collecting and comparing empirical findings on use of the Internet across Europe (conducted within EU Kids Online) show that:

Children gain access to the internet very rapidly all over Europe, although not at the same speed across and within countries (EC 2006, EC 2007)

Strong variations between European countries exist in:

Use of the Internet

The experienced opportunities and risks, identified by Hasebrink, Livingstone and Haddon (2008)

Opportunities:

education and learning

(Cultural) participation and civic engagement

Creativity and Identity

Social connection

Threats:

Commercial

Aggressive

Sexual

Value related


Introduction1

Research question:

Which factors are contributing towards a high degree of online risk experienced by children in the different European countries?

7 factors were identified as shaping conditions:

Child’s use of the internet

Legal framework

Networked Readiness Index

Educational Policy

Role of Internet service providers

Online content provision

Raise awareness

Introduction


Introduction2

Introduction

Research based on data collected by national teams from 20 participating countries in EU Kids Online Network

20 national reports

Comparative report (Hasebrink, Livingstone & Haddon 2008)

Cross-country comparisons difficult due to the absence of national statistics, lack of research evidence and opacity of stakeholders in specific countries


Children and the internet

Media (Internet) literacy of children: Protection from risk or education, empowerment and trust?

Today’s childhood between

Pedagogization: the innocent child that has to be protected

Commercialization : the child as sovereign, autonomous consumer and participant in the market and society

Children and the Internet


Children and the internet1

This double-sided view on today’s childhood innocence versus empowerment

frames debate and policy on children and the Internet

‘should we protect or educate?’

Explosion of social scientific interest in risk and risk society hand in hand with “putative decline in trust and trustworthiness” (Collins 2008)

Ambivalence evidenced in the rhetoric of children as “the digital generation”, facing rather risks than opportunities

Children and the Internet


Children and the internet2

Contrast between

vast research and debate in social sciences on children, their use of the internet, risks and opportunities

few research on factors contributing towards the degree of online risk experienced

Protecting children on the Internet is matter of concern of three centres of action (Oswell 1999):

Government

Industry

Parents

Children and the Internet


Research design

Research Methodology:

Qualitative Comparative Research (QCA)

- analysis strategy aiming at comparing multiple cases

- capture the complexity of cases and pursuing some level of generalisation (Rihoux, Lobe 2008)

Mainly three steps:

Pool of conditions are identified and inserted into a table (‘truth table’)

A second table (optimal truth formula) is produced by excluding redundant conditions

Interpretations are made by returning to the cases, regarding each case as a whole

Research design


Research design1

7 conditions considered:

Child’s use of the internet

Legal framework

Networked Readiness Index

Educational Policy

Role of Internet service providers

Online content provision

Raise awareness

To operationalise the conditions qualitative data (country reports) and quantitative data (Eurostat, Eurobarometer surveys)

Research design


Research results

Research results


Research results1

Research results

Different steps of analysis show different casual paths leading to a high degree of online risk


Research results2

Research results

Emerging patterns

BULGARIA and POLAND:

low use

Low on all conditions

NETHERLANDS and UK:

Heavy internet use

Successful government in promoting use of ICT

Important role of ISP’s

Large initiatives for raising awareness for safety


Research results3

ESTONIA and SLOVENIA:

High use

Well developed legal framework and educational policy

ISP’s active role in safeguarding

Lack of provision of online media content for children

Research results


Research results4

CZECH REPUBLIC

High use

High efforts in education

High efforts in awareness

Low on all other conditions

NORWAY

High use

High efforts in education and awareness

Strong legal framework and ICT promotion

Medium provision of online media content for children

ISP’s passive about safeguarding Internet safety

Research results


Conclusions

Conclusions

Risks experienced in different countries show very different patterns

Each country possesses its own specific configuration of conditions

No expected clusters (not linked to economic situation and/or political history)

QCA analysis does not uncover one explaining condition

Yet, some patterns can be disclosed


Conclusions1

‘High use’ seems to be the constant condition

Provision of online media content for children seems to be significant

When high use is accompanied by low provision of online content for children, risk arises surely.

Responsibility in securing safety of children is a shared one.

Importance of a strong legal framework

Strong importance of ISP and media industry (governance)

strong importance of education (media literacy: empowerment)

Final remark: amount of conditions taken into account is limited (e.g. cultural values)

Conclusions


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