Latvia: 16,000 young people take part in "Challenge your grey cells!"

  • Awareness
  • 01/07/2019
  • Latvian Safer Internet Centre

Launched in January 2019 by the Latvian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) Drossinternets.lv, the competition "Challenge your grey cells!" was the second large-scale knowledge test for pupils based on solving practical tasks.

The competition took the form of an online test and focused on the most important digital skills, used in everyday life: critical thinking about online influencers, online advertisement, online news, information search, separation of facts and opinions, prudent online shopping. Pupils also confirmed their technical skills (for example, how to deactivate a social network account). Within one month, 16,284 pupils of different age groups completed the online test.

Although pupils' overall knowledge of their online environment can be assessed as acceptable, teachers and parents should pay attention to children and adolescents' ability to deal with different problems online. In particular, the test results revealed the following.

Pupils in the first to fourth grades have a careless attitude when it comes to sending private information to others. 20.7 per cent believe that the things they have written and sent on the internet remains private. This age group is also often unaware of the risk of downloading a virus on their device when clicking on "compelling" advertising banners. 8 per cent of the pupils would click on the banner "You have won ..." and indicate their home address. 20 per cent said they would be more cautious – they would not share their home address, but would click on the banner out of interest.

Pupils in the fifth to seventh grades also make mistakes – 30 per cent believed the message that by clicking on a random link, they could change the colour of their WhatsApp application, or felt that no harm could happen because it was just an advertisement. The power of influencers among young people is confirmed by the fact that more than 800 children aged 11-14 (or 12 per cent of respondents in this age group) admitted that they would definitely ask their parents to buy products advertised by influencers.

The reaction to cyber-mobbing or emotional humiliation by pupils in the eighth and ninth grades causes worry. 21 per cent of young people would not participate themselves in cyberbullying but would do nothing to end the humiliation of the classmate. The responses of older primary school pupils regarding the credibility of the news published online are also unsatisfactory. 20 per cent noted that only the author of the article should be checked: if there are several articles published on the internet by this author, it can be assumed that it is a professional journalist and that their articles can be trusted.

Pupils in the tenth to twelfth grades show an incomplete ability to differentiate between real and false information online. 25 per cent of young people believe they can fully believe a study published by a scientist online. The attitude towards copyright is also source of questioning. If there are no references to quoted sources of information mentioned in the research paper, 10.7 per cent of respondents do not see plagiarism in it, but says that the work will be assessed with a lower grade because it does not meet the requirements.

Drossinternets.lv online test "Challenge your grey cells!" is still available online for first to fourth grades pupils, fifth to seventh grades pupils, eight and ninth grades pupils, and tenth to twelfth grades pupils.

Find out more information about the work of the Latvian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.


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