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eYouth

Balancing between Opportunities and Risks

Edited By Wannes Heirman, Sara Mels, Christiane Timmerman, Heidi Vandenbosch and Michel Walrave

The omnipresence of ICT in modern households has provided children and adolescents with plenty of opportunities for education, entertainment and contact. This young age group, however, is increasingly confronted with a range of online risks relating to personal contact and inappropriate content. This duality was the central thread of an international multidisciplinary conference from which this book presents a selection of excellent papers.
After providing the reader with a typology of the benefits of and threats arising from young people’s internet use, the book elaborates on the issue of online access and the extent to which the young use ICT in their daily lives. The authors also consider the opportunities young people now have to use and produce online content, as well as the tremendous contact opportunities offered by social network sites. Alongside these opportunities, risks such as cyberbullying are examined too. The final part of the book is devoted to young people’s empowerment and protection. The roles of parents, schools and governments are scrutinized in the context of allowing young people to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of the internet.

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eYouth: Between Trust, Concerns and Science 13 - Michel Walrave

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13 eYouth Between Trust, Concerns and Science Michel WALRAVE Young people are increasingly using the Internet, mobile telephony and gaming platforms for a variety of purposes. They offer youngsters tremendous new opportunities in the areas of information, education, social contact and entertainment. Teenagers often use these technologies in the privacy of their bedroom, sometimes referred to as the bedroom culture (Bovill & Livingstone, 2001). Yet, the fact that many youngsters are increasingly spending time in their private space connected to the Internet, may also lead them to engage in several activities which pose a risk. Moreover, due to the absence of the parents, these activities may slip under the parental radar. In this context, researchers, child protection advocates and consumer organisations have been voicing their concerns about the various risks youngsters may encounter online. Moreover, policy makers are under pressure to make the right decisions to shape the conditions that will offer children and teenagers a safer Internet experience. Although adolescents, who belong to the generation of digital natives, are often depicted as techno-savvies, questions arise about their ability to accur- ately assess online risks, to cope with negative online experiences and to maximise opportunities offered by new technologies. Therefore, the role played by parents and educators in addressing specific issues and em- powering young users is receiving growing attention. Confronted with an increasing academic and societal attention on these issues, UCSIA and MIOS University of Antwerp have created a platform to discuss results from recent research and policy initiatives during...

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