Young children and digital technology: a love story that challenges parents

Since a very early age, gaming and video watching on a variety of internet-connected devices are among children's favourite activities. But children are little aware of what internet is, what “online” means, what risks they can encounter and what benefits they can gain. Parents see digital technologies as positive but, at the same time, find managing their use challenging. They perceive digital technologies as something problematic that needs to be carefully regulated and controlled and would appreciate advice on fostering children’s online safety.

This emerges from the exploratory findings of the research project "Young children (0-8) and digital technology", which is now concluding its second phase. This research, coordinated by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's in house science service, started in 2014 and counts now more than thirty partners in 19 countries.

This research project explores how children below 8 years use the Internet and emerging digital devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, computers, games) at home and in the family context. It also reflects on the potential benefits, risks and consequences associated with their (online) interactions with technologies.

The study builds on a qualitative pilot study that touched seventy families of six European countries. Based on this research methodology, interviews to children and parents have been carried out in 2015 in 17 countries during the 2nd phase of the fieldwork. The findings of this fieldwork are expected to be published in spring 2016, while the 2015 study's exploratory findings be found at:

Back to list of notificationsPublished: 10. February 2016 | Category: Notifications