Bulgaria: Are children empowered to benefit from the internet?

  • Awareness
  • 07/02/2017
  • Global Kids Online/Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre

New findings from Global Kids Online Bulgaria, launched today, Safer Internet Day 2017, by the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC), reveal that children are spending more time online at increasingly younger ages. Even though many of them are technically competent and skilled internet users, few children take full advantage of the online opportunities or act in a proactive way.

The recently completed national representative survey of 1,000 Bulgarian children aged 9 to 17 years and their parents reveals that intense internet use and having digital skills does not necessarily translate into using the full range of online opportunities or being able to respond proactively to upsetting online content. In a context where children access the internet independently at an ever-younger age, often unsupervised, this raises important questions about the balance between online risks and opportunities and children's online safety.

Key findings include:

  • The average age of accessing the internet for the first time in Bulgaria has dropped to 8 years old over the past 6 years and, by the time children reach 10 years old, 90 per cent are already online. Children also go online more often and spend more time using the internet than they did 6 years ago.
  • Children in Bulgaria go online predominantly via a smartphone (80 per cent), which creates not only opportunities but also risks due to relatively unsupervised access.
  • About 70 per cent of Bulgarian children report that they learn new things from the internet every week and almost all of them (96 per cent) agrees that the internet offers a lot of useful things for children of their age.
  • While children in Bulgaria use the internet to create content rather rarely, they seem competent internet users. However, having the skills does not translate into making use of the existing opportunities.
  • The increased use of the internet, however, has created more exposure to risk, especially for older children.
  • Most children talk to family and friends when they experience something negative online but nearly one in five children do not speak to anybody.

Read the blog post on the Global Kids Online website for further information and more detailed findings and an overview video from Professor Sonia Livingstone.

Find out more about the work of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

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