Children’s voices on life online

Children embrace the opportunities of online life and seem more mature and resilient in their online presence than adults tend to believe. That is one of the findings in the report 'Life online through children’s eyes' which compiles the findings from the Children’s Advisory Panel (CAP), an initiative by Telia Company in collaboration with children's rights organizations and schools in seven countries across the Nordics and Baltics.

“In real life a lot of things define you: your clothes, body language, height, size, weight, manner of speaking. But on the internet you feel free and equal. And anonymous – you can do whatever you want,” 15-year old boy, one of the voices in the report 'Life online through children’s eyes'.

Mature and resilient
The report offers a story of online lives that are full of possibilities, learning opportunities, joy and social life, often hidden from adults. The children who participated in the panel embrace the opportunities of their online life and seem more mature and resilient in their online presence than adults tend to believe.

Positive aspects
“Thanks to the Children´s Advisory Panel initiative we had a chance to ask about the positive aspects of online opportunities straight from the children. We wanted to know how young people perceive the positive, happy, engaging, empowering, participatory aspects of life online,” says Anniina Lundvall, Advisor at the Children and Digital Media Unit, Save the Children Finland.

Save the Children Finland and the market research company Kantar TNS in Finland have been main partners in developing the concept and workshop model and in analyzing the results.

Actual experiences
”Much of the existing research concentrates on the hard facts: how much time is spent online, which services are used, and so on. Less is known about children’s actual experiences online, and that’s why we decided for a qualitative survey where the young were encouraged to participate in an open dialogue,” says Henriette Wendt, Senior Vice President at Telia Company, who started the initiative together with the Telia Company Sustainability team in 2016.

Multi-stakeholder dialogue
Wendt presented the report on Thursday 2 March at an event in Copenhagen, where the Danish Minister for children and Social Affairs participated. The event can be seen as a kick off for the work that Telia Company now starts, aimed at better understanding of children’s experiences and wishes, and increased dialogue on the topic.

”Now we invite to a multi-stakeholder dialogue around the findings in the report. In particular we want to create a dialogue internally, to better understand our role to support and respect children’s rights online. With the event and the report we want to invite to a multi-stakeholder dialogue around the findings in the report. Through this dialogue, we hope to better understand our role in supporting and respecting children’s rights online going forward,”says Wendt.

Children online