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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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PART IV EMPOWERMENT AND PROTECTION PARENTS, TEACHERS AND POLICY MAKERS’ ROLE 235 Institutional Filters on Children’s Internet Use An Additional Explanation of Cross-national Differences in Parental Mediation Veronika KALMUS & Triin ROOSALU1 Introduction Along with the rapid growth of children’s Internet use and rising public concern about risks and negative experiences kids may face online, there has been increasing research interest in parental strategies for regulating and monitoring children’s online behaviour (see e.g. Kirwil (2009) for overview). Special Eurobarometer surveys in 2005 and 2008 have provided data on parental mediation of children’s Inter- net use in EU 25 and EU 27 countries, respectively, allowing research- ers to conduct comparative analyses, and leading to the overall conclu- sion that, in addition to individual-level variation in parental strategies, systematic cross-national differences exist (see Kalmus, Keller, & Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, 2009; Kirwil, 2009; Kirwil, Garmendia, Garitaonandia, & Martínez-Fernández, 2009; Livingstone & Haddon, 2009; Lobe, Segers, & Tsaliki, 2009). These differences have mainly been explained by taking into account the countries’ orientations in terms of individualistic and collectivistic values. This kind of approach is in line with a long tradition of research on techniques and practices of child-rearing guided by parental values and attitudes, which, in turn, are influenced by broader cultural ideologies (see Tulviste, Mizera, De Geer, & Tryggvason, 2007 for an overview). 1 The preparation of this article was supported by the research grants No. 6892, 6968 and 8527 financed by the Estonian Science Foundation; the target financed projects No. 0180017s07, 0132682s05 and 0130027s11 from Estonian Ministry of...

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