Horizon 2020 – Studying the impact of digital transformations on children and youth

The time children and young people spend online has increased significantly, giving them access to unprecedented opportunities but also exposing them to new risks. To address this new reality, the European Commission (EC) is funding four Horizon 2020 projects: CO:RE, DigiGen, DIGYMATEX, and ySKILLS, all of which have synergies with Better Internet for Kids (BIK) actions.

All four projects are funded under the H2020-EU.3.6.1.1. - The mechanisms to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth programme. As the EC put it, "the challenge is to develop a solid and independent multidisciplinary and longitudinal knowledge base in relation to the 0 to 18 years old age group that explains under which conditions harmful versus beneficial effects occur so that effective social, educational, health and online safety policies, practices and market regulation can be developed".

Project Coordinator Uwe Hasebrink explains CO:RE – Children Online: Research and Evidence | H2020

Firstly, the CO:RE - Children Online: Research and Evidence project (1 January 2020 – 31 December 2022) aims to conceptualise and implement a pan-European knowledge platform on the experiences of children and young people in digital communication spaces and the effects of technological changes on children and young people. This platform is designed for researchers, representatives from politics and education, and family organisations, and it features research findings on a broad range of topics related to the impact of technological transformations on children and young people – including their health, lifestyles, participation and digital citizenship, well-being, safety and security as affected by ICT. These findings stem from research from all EU Member States and several other European countries, therefore providing a variety of cultural, political, and media-related contexts. The project partners also strive to interpret these research findings, to formulate evidence-based policy recommendations, and to offer educational resources.

Introduction to DigiGen, a research project on the digital generation

On the other hand, DigiGen (1 December 2019 – 30 November 2022) is a research project aiming to develop significant knowledge of how children and young people – a group often referred to as the Digital Generation – use digital technologies and are affected by technological transformations in their everyday lives, both positively and negatively. The research focuses on four ecosystems: educational institutions; the home; leisure time; and civic participation. Based on the knowledge developed, the project aims to develop effective social, educational, health and online safety policies and practices in collaboration with national and international stakeholders.

DIGYMATEX (1 February 2020 – 31 July 2024) is a project that aims to provide evidence-based tools to assist in understanding and determining the digital maturity of children aged 9-16, and how it impacts their information and communication technologies (ICT) behaviours, by developing a Digital Youth Maturity Index. The project will benefit children, parents, education professionals, researchers, members of the industry and policy makers. Based on the research findings, DIGYMATEX will formulate recommendations in support of national and European policies that will contribute to a safer and more beneficial use of digital technologies by children.

Finally, Youth Skills (ySKILLS) (1 January 2020 – 31 December 2023) is a project that aims to enhance the long-term positive impact of the ICT environment on multiple aspects of well-being for all children by stimulating their resilience through the enhancement of their digital skills. To achieve this, ySKILLS will develop an evidence-based explanatory and foresight model predicting the complex impacts of ICT use and digital skills on the cognitive, psychological, physical and social well-being of children, including from vulnerable groups. Based on these findings, the project partners will then formulate evidence-based recommendations and strategies for key stakeholder groups to promote digital skills and well-being.

For more information on these four projects, please visit cordis.europa.eu.


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