Exploring young childrens understanding of risks associated with Internet usage and their concepts of management strategies

  • Ey L
  • Cupit C
  • Glenn Cupit C
  • 4

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Abstract

The Internet provides remarkable opportunities for children’s learning and development. Nevertheless, it is unregulated and hard to control, which potentially places children at risk of exploitation. This study examined five–eight-year-old children’s understanding of dangers associated with the Internet, management strategies and sources of their understanding. Children in small groups answered questions relating to what they consider dangerous interactions or materials connected with the Internet, management strategies they would employ if confronted with these, and who taught them what they knew. Many children reported prior negative experiences on the Internet. Although they identified several risk categories, when presented with potentially dangerous Internet interactions almost half were not able to identify the associated risks. Most children identified appropriate management strategies; however, it was evident that children could not safely employ these because they were unable to recognize potential dangers. Just under half of the children indicated they had not been taught Internet safety. Internet risks for children can be reduced through education in their recognition of potential dangers, recall and management strategies, indicating a need for schools to incorporate Internet safety into curricula.

Author-supplied keywords

  • children
  • cyber-safety
  • internet
  • risks
  • safety
  • strategies

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Authors

  • L.-a. Lesley-Anne Ey

  • C. Glenn Cupit

  • C. Glenn Cupit

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