Network Insight Pty Ltd
Place of Publication
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts
This paper draws on the work of the "EU Kids Online" network funded by the EC (DG Information Society) Safer Internet plus Programme (project code SIP-KEP-321803); see www.eukidsonline.net, and addresses Australian children‟s online activities in terms of risk, harm and opportunity. In particular, it draws upon data that indicates that Australian children are more likely to encounter online risks – especially around seeing sexual images, bullying, misuse of personal data and exposure to potentially harmful user-generated content – than is the case with their EU counterparts. Rather than only comparing Australian children with their European equivalents, this paper places the risks experienced by Australian children in the context of the mediation and online protection practices adopted by their parents, and asks about the possible ways in which we might understand data that seems to indicate that Australian children‟s experiences of online risk and harm differ significantly from the experiences of their Europe-based peers. In particular, and as an example, this paper sets out to investigate the apparent conundrum through which Australian children appear twice as likely as most European children to have seen sexual images in the past 12 months, but parents are more likely to filter their access to the internet than is the case with most children in the wider EU Kids Online study. Even so, one in four Australian children (25%) believes that what their parents do helps „a lot‟ to improve their internet experience, and Australian children and their parents are a little less likely to agree about the mediation practices taking place in the family home than is the case in the EU. The AU Kids Online study was carried out as a result of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation‟s funding of a small scale randomised sample (N = 400) of Australian families with at least one child, aged 9-16, who goes online. The report on Risks and safety for Australian children on the internet follows the same format and uses much of the contextual statement around these issues as the „county level‟ reports produced by the 25 EU nations involved in EU Kids Online, first drafted by Livingstone et al (2010). The entirely new material is the data itself, along with the analysis of that data.