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Carolin Bretl, project manager
Tel.: ++49-30-437277-40

Stiftung Digitale Chancen - Digital Opportunities Foundation

Office Berlin
Chausseestr. 15
10115 Berlin
Fax: ++49-30-437277 39

events in the field

research in the field

Zero to eight: Young children and their internet use

by Holloway, D., Green, L. and Livingstone, S., EU Kids Online

There have been noticeable increases in the internet participation rate of children and young people in all EU countries. However, very young children (0-8) are showing particularly increased patterns of internet use. Tweens’ (9-12 year olds) usage patterns now resemble those of teenagers five to six years ago, and younger school-aged children’s usage is increasing to the equivalent of tweens’ previous use. Pre-schoolers are going online too, and most babies under the age of two in developed countries have an online presence (or digital footprint). This report aims to identify recent relevant evidence regarding young children of eight years and under and their increasing engagement with the internet. It evaluates the quality of this evidence, the research gaps and the implications for policy.

Despite very young children being established as active internet users, policy resources are typically directed to older children with most concern focused on teenagers. Consequently, little thought has been given to the protection of very young children online, along with minimal attention paid to the opportunities and benefits offered to young children through their internet engagement. EU Kids Online has spent seven years considering children’s engagement with the internet, within the 9-16 age range.

Given the dramatic increase in internet uptake by both young schoolchildren and preschool children, parents and policy-makers have been left without clear direction regarding the benefits and risks involved — and about how best to support children’s engagement with the internet in safe and beneficial ways. It is to be hoped that the evidence base will grow so as to inform the development of relevant policy, support safety education, build public awareness and assist parents in the effective mediation of their young children’s internet use.

Please see the complete study and its findings here.


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