|dc.description||Awareness of online risks among I grade pupils and parents’ behavioural practises in
mediating their children’s Internet use based on Tartu shcools.
Key words: Internet risks, online risks, children and Internet, parental mediation
The main objective of this bachelor thesis was to map the knowledge and attitudes
about Internet risks among 1st grade pupils in Estonia. In addition, to find out what
are parents’ behavioural practises and strategies in mediating their children’s Internet
The paper surveys mainly:
• How do 7-8 year old children use the Internet?
The aim of this research question is to find out where, how often and for what
reason do children use the Internet.
• How do children understand online risks?
It is important to know how much do children know about online risks and to what
extent can they interpret online material.
• What are children’s reactions to experiencing online risks?
Do children share their problem with somebody or prefer to ignore it?
• What kind of expectations do children and their parents have for the Internet?
• What kind of strategies do parents use in mediating their children’s Internet usage?
Since the use of the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular pastime, particularly
among children and young people, it offers many benefits to its users. The reality is
that there are also serious risks which children must be made aware of. The trend is,
however, that teenagers are the most heavily studied age group due to their higher
level use of the Internet. However, researchers (Hasebrink et al 2009) have
highlighted the need for more studies focusing on younger children, especially those
aged eight or younger. As Estonia belongs to the group of countries with high Internet
usage, where more that 85% of children use the Internet, and at the same time among
the countries with high level of Internet risk, it is important to focus on researching
the awareness of online risks among the young users also.
The theoretical and empirical part of this study give an overview of children and the
information and consumer society, children’s Internet usage, presents the
classification of online risks and opportunities, important agents in influencing
children’s Internet use and parents’ strategies in mediating their children’s use of the
Internet. In addition, it presents briefly the framework of Internet regulation topic and
also gives an overview of up to date and representative research material concerning
In order to gather empirical data on above mentioned matter a qualitative research
method – in-depth interviews - was used among 16 first grade pupils from Estonia. In
order to enhance this paper a quantitative research method – online questionnaire -
was also used to collect data from parents of the 1st grade pupils.
In-depth interviews revealed that 7-8 year old pupils use the Internet regularly for
playing online games. One of the most surprising findings was the fact that children
use the Internet under no supervision by their parents nor have they experienced any
other restrictions (except from the time they can spend on the Internet). The most
important findings included the fact that children considered different technological
viruses as the main online risks but only a few had heard about giving out personal
information or meeting an online contact offline, however those appear to be among
the most dangerous risks.
Due to the limited sample of this study, it is not possible to make an overall
conclusion on the Internet risk awareness among Estonian children. Nevertheless,
while children are discovering new ways of using the Internet and acquiring new
skills and experiences, the increase in the awareness of safe Internet use is crucial.||en