Children's voices

Children have the right to be listened to, and adults do not necessarily know very much about children’s experiences or lives online. This is why we decided to let the children explain to us, in their own way, the role that the internet plays in their lives, and their views on specific online aspects.

The Children’s Advisory Panel (CAP) was created to better under­stand children’s own perspectives of online and digital aspects of life by listening to them through qualitative co-creative methods. CAP is an initiative by Telia Company in collaboration with child rights organizations and schools in the Nordic and Baltic countries. So far around 2,200 children in the 6th and 9th grades have participated by describ­ing and discussing the opportunities, benefits and challenges of life online. The aim of the CAP initiative is to further develop Telia’s understanding of how we as a company can improve our own approach to children as users of our technology, and to contribute to the ICT industry’s and society’s understanding of children as online citizens.

Want to interact about the findings? Use #TeliaChildrenOnline#KidsLifeOnline and @AAugustson or send us an e-mail.

Children’s advice

At the occasion of the United Nations Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, 2018 Telia Company published children’s own advice for healthy life online collected through its Children’s Advisory Panel (CAP).

Children have a largely positive view of the internet and the possibilities it offers, especially when it comes to friendship. More than half of the children involved in the survey, conducted by Telia Company and World Childhood Foundation, agree that internet has helped them to make new friends. Children’s main advice to younger children is to use possibilities of internet to make new social connections, to include others and to act kindly online.

Advice of 12-year-old children in seven Nordic and Baltic countries to younger children was collected in the form of animated films created during CAP workshops. In total, 200 animated films were produced on five key themes – friendship, trustworthy information, school work, well-being and family. More than 770 children took part and had created their films with Plotagon animation tool in just 45 minutes.

Read more in the report

Children and privacy

CAP research in 2017 focused on children's views, concerns and practices regarding online privacy and safety

An average CAP-kid seems to be quite informed and careful online. CAP-kids find online privacy important and are well aware about ways to improve their data security. 94% of the CAP-kids think that passwords should be kept secret. However, 5% have shared their passwords online with friends and 56% use the same password for most apps and games.

More than half of CAP-kids have had negative online experiences. One out of four of the CAP-kids report having received disturbing contacts and messages online.

The CAP research clearly showed three main categories of kids

Tech-savvy boy pushing the boundaries
From the moment he wakes up, Oscar’s life depends on a good internet connection. Avid gamer and Youtuber, he knows his way around a computer and is a go-to person for his friends for technical questions. Online communities are an important resource for Oscar, as his parents’ knowledge is no longer sufficient (and he doesn’t want them to know what he is up to online). His adventures led to some unpleasant situations though, including harassment from the other, probably older, users on his favorite gaming website.

Regular kid enjoying the opportunities
Sofia loves Instagram stories and Snapchat. Like her friends, she documents her day meticulously through photos and videos, does a daily poll for friends and, of course, loves to change it up with a funny picture (adding cat ears is her favorite). When she needs help online, she asks her mom but has also learnt a few things in class. But Sofia has been hesitant to venture on the websites some of her techie friends are on. One of them was cyberbullied recently, so she is cautious to avoid that.

Vulnerable child needing support
Alex is not so confident when it comes to the online world. In fact, it feels that everyone else knows how to navigate the online world better. Alex’s social media accounts have been hacked twice already, perhaps because Alex has shared the password for these accounts with friends. There have also been a couple of incidents with disturbing pictures. Alex doesn’t ask classmates for help though. And while asking parents is less embarrassing, it is rarely useful for help with the latest apps.

CAP-kids want to be in control when it comes to privacy and their information online, although their definition of privacy may differ from that of adults. Three most important aspects for them are that:

  • Information about them is not shared without their permission

  • They can delete their videos and pictures if and when they choose to do so

  • More reliable and educated adults are online to help if their privacy is violated

What can we do?
Companies can contribute by creating awareness about online privacy and safety in a way children can understand. Telia Company is taking that step by offering interactive workshops, where children learn through participation. We have used the insights from the Children’s Advisory Panel to design a concept for a training for children, focused on understanding and being in control of one’s data.

Children and online privacy (PDF)

Full report of survey Online privacy (PDF)

Petition

Petition: Children’s and young people’s appeal to adults for a better online culture

This petition is based on thousands of debates and discussions with children and young people on the challenges and opportunities of online and digital everyday life in various events in Finland during 2017. These discussions and notes have been made by dozens of employees and volunteers from Telia and Save the Children. Parents, teachers and caretakers can use it as a checklist of children's wishes about online life.

Download the petition

Kids life online

The rapid development of technology and communications networks in recent years has made it possible for young people to be online all day, every day. During 2016 and the beginning of 2017, more than 700 children in the 6th and 9th grades participated in the CAP workshops, where they described and discussed the opportunities and benefits of life online. The key findings were remarkably similar across all countries, highlighting the true borderless nature of the Internet, and are illustrated below with quotes from the workshops.

CAP-kids embrace the opportunities of life online
"You can make friends all over the world if you want to."
Girl, 15

CAP-kids show a high degree of maturity and resilience in their online presence.
“Wikipedia is not always true. Everyone can write. You need to check more places to see if it is true.”
Girl, 11

CAP-kids care about their own and others’ online identities.
“You never know who is who on the internet. Everyone could be anyone. So you have to be careful to not forget this.”
Boy, 15

CAP-kids consider good connectivity a major enabler of social inclusion.
“[What could impress you on the internet?] If everyone could have equally strong internet. When we play games [online] sometimes the internet fails for some of my friends. Then they are thrown away from the game or conversation on Skype breaks.”
Boy, 12

CAP-kids expect presence and guidance from adults, however, from a distance.
“It is important to have rules so that everyone behaves and can feel safe. Bullying can really hurt you.”
Girl, 11

Summary of the report
Life online through children’s eyes (PDF)

Life online through children’s eyes (PDF)