In order to follow trends in the use of ICT and the associated risks, this annual report illustrates the observations made by BEE SECURE in the course its activities during the 2021/2022 school year. The report is also based on the results of surveys conducted among parents on their children’s use of ICT, and among young people (aged 12 to 30) on their own ICT use. The questions were about the nature and duration of the use of digital devices, as well as opinions and experiences of the risks and danger. The surveys revealed specific trends for three age groups.
Contact with the digital world starts at an early age
For 40 per cent of the surveyed children, the first contact with a device connected to the internet (e.g. by taking part in a video call within the family or by watching photos/videos on the device) takes place before the age of 4. This percentage reaches 83 per cent for children aged 9.
According to 84 per cent of the parents surveyed (79 per cent in 2021), children receive their first smartphone by the age of 12, a decision generally motivated by accessibility and safety considerations, often associated with the transition from primary to secondary education.
The most popular social media
According to the survey conducted among 11,900 pupils aged between 8 and 18, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram are the most popular applications for sharing photos and videos within this broad age group. TikTok is also becoming increasingly popular among children, including at primary school age.
Major risks include screen time, cyberbullying and misinformation
Just like last year, screen time leads the top five risk topics for parents. Age-inappropriate content and the influence exerted by influencers are also key concerns.
The top five risks according to young people include cyberbullying, the phenomenon of personal data collection, misinformation and fake news.
Screen time and excessive/problematic use of screens were topics of particular concern in this year’s surveys. The Zenter fir exzessiivt Verhalen a Verhalenssucht (ZEV, Centre for excessive behaviour and behavioural addictions) helped to draft the questions on usage behaviour and carried out a detailed analysis of the results based on two topics, as summarised in this publication.
The trends observed - which seem to demonstrate a general increase in usage time - will certainly call for greater attention in future.
Experience and risk management
The report also highlights trends in experiences of cyberbullying, pornography, sexting, violent videos and online privacy. As regards the risks in general, it is important to remember that a “risk” is not always synonymous with “harm”. To avoid harm, it is important to have a good ability to recognise and manage the risks.
Parents and young people were asked for their opinions on this matter. Parents believe that half of children aged 3 to 11 have a good or very good ability to manage online risks and dangers. They also feel that almost three out of four 12-to-16-year-olds have at least a good ability to manage these risks and dangers. Furthermore, the majority of young people feel the same way about their risk management skills. Around 9 out of 10 parents consider that their own skills are quite good to very good, with only 1 out of 10 parents believing that their skills are quite poor to poor.
To conclude, the report stresses the importance of being well aware of trends in the use of ICT by children and teenagers. This knowledge helps to better assess and understand the reality in Luxembourg. As such, the surveys and analyses will be further developed and fine-tuned in future.
This report, which is published annually and serves as a kind of “risk atlas”, aims to inform all players who join forces to ensure safer internet use for children and young people and to help them guide their actions. The BEE SECURE Radar is available in French.
Find more information about the work of the Luxembourg Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline, and youth participation services – or find similar information for other Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.