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 10.000 children, 10-18 years old 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 @HeddyRing or send us an e-mail.

Children and digital learning

Telia Company asked 7, 000 students across seven countries in the Nordics and Baltics about their experiences from studying from home. Despite challenges and substantial changes in habits that happened overnight, their overall experience has been largely positive. The survey gives insights into how digital schooling can be further developed in the future.

Read the full report here

“The survey highlights some clear trends, like the quite high number of satisfied students, despite this being a big shift happening during a very challenging time. At the same time, we also see very mixed responses in some areas, which may indicate that digital schooling suits some students better than other. As schools continue to develop digital methods and remote teaching also post-corona, this must be further looked into, to ensure that no student is left behind”, says Sara Nordbrand, Head of Group Sustainability at Telia Company.

School closures during the coronavirus pandemic have impacted 1.6 billion children around the world. Kids, teachers and parents have struggled to adapt in order to secure that students get access to good quality education also when schools had to close. In some cases, digital schooling took shape overnight, in others it was further developed. Given the substantial impact the changes have had on children’s lives, Telia Company decided to use its forum for children’s participation – The Children’s Advisory Panel - to better understand how students experience digital learning.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos in May when schools were closed in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. In Sweden, students aged 16 to 18 had to study from home. Several children rights organisations such as Childhood, Friends and Bris, provided input and supported the study which found the following:

  • More than half of the children stated that they were satisfied with the overall experience of studying from home during the corona pandemic (COVID-19). Only 15% stated that they were dissatisfied.
  • Most children who have shifted from classroom to online learning during spring state that they have felt safer (67%), happier (52%) and more relaxed (46%) as a result of studying from home. However, while both mental and physical well-being has improved for around one in four, almost as many stated that it has decreased.
  • 45% agreed that their ability to solve school tasks independently has increased.
  • 37% state that learning and results, as well as the ability to finish tasks in time (31%) have improved.
  • Three out of four children find that the way of learning has changed, while six out of ten children learnt new communication tools and new study methods.
  • Almost all state that they have had access to a computer. For most children the internet access has worked well, however the overall experience in digital learning is significantly lower among the 10% of children with poor internet connection quality.
  • In open responses children noted that they would like to continue digital learning in the future, either integrated with regular classroom learning, when they are ill or as part of lifelong learning.

Children state that there has been less bullying. However, going to schools is described as more inspiring than studying from home – 36% state the latter tends to get boring and 29% describe the new situation as tiring. While the hours of sleep and screen time have increased, exercise and sports have decreased for around half of the children during this period.

When it comes to online safety, around one in ten state that they have been contacted by an unknown adult while studying from home, the share is larger in the Nordics than in the Baltics. The most common safety issue during the period of digital learning has been phishing attempts followed by accidentally seeing material online, or receiving material, that made the child uncomfortable.

“The insights in this report – as shared with us by children themselves – can help us gain a deeper understanding of how to improve digital learning for the future. Right now, both parents and teachers are working hard together with children to take us through these times of crisis. Post-corona it will be important to act on the learnings, continue to empower kids and protect them against online threats. These threats are not new to kids – they exist during their spare time but enter the school day when learning take place online,” says Susanne Drakborg, Program Manager, World Childhood Foundation.

More information about the study

Children’s Advisory Panel (CAP) is an initiative by Telia Company and schools in seven countries across the Nordic and Baltic region. It was created to better understand children’s own perspectives of online and digital aspects of life.

In spring 2020, 7017 (1000 children in each country) 10-18 -year-olds from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway and 16-18-year-olds from Sweden participated in the digital CAP study and shared their experiences of digital learning during COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was carried out together with the research agency Ipsos, World Childhood Foundation and national child rights organizations Bris, Friends, Generation Pep and Save the Children in Sweden, Estonian Union for Child Welfare in Estonia, Save the Children in Finland and Dross Internets in Latvia.

Here’s what the children say:

“It’s good that there is a possibility to learn online, but I miss school, I miss seeing teachers and friends in real life.”

16-18 years old, Sweden

"Digital learning can affect each student differently. It is easier to some, since there is less pressure, especially by other students. For others it is difficult to learn without help from the teacher."

16-18 years old, Estonia

“Digital school is better than ordinary school, I think we should do more digitally.”

13-15 years old, Norway

”Digital learning is tougher than traditional learning in school. You need peace and your own time, and to balance it with moving around and going outside.”

16-18 years old, Finland

Children and online gaming

In September 2019 Telia Company published views on gaming of 15-year-old children in seven Nordic and Baltic countries collected in the form of animated films, together with a guide material to help parents to support children in gaming responsibly.

Online gaming is an increasing presence in children’s lives – among 1 in 4 children that participated in the study Children’s Advisory Panel (CAP) game frequently, with 45% of the boys describing themselves as frequent gamers.

Children see gaming as having a positive impact on their lives. Gaming is a source of entertainment, a way to cheer up, an outlet for creativity, and a way to make new friends. Gaming also has important long-term benefits, with 64% of children finding that gaming allows them to learn other skills, such as English.

Views on gaming were collected conducted by Telia Company, World Childhood Foundation and research company IPSOS, from 600 children in the form of animated films created with Plotagon animation tool during CAP workshops. 159 animated films were produced on four themes – best and worst things about gaming, reasons not to play and the role of gaming in one’s life.

Aware of risks and looking for parental understanding

Despite the largely positive outlook on gaming, CAP children are well aware of its risks. Negative effect of excessive gaming on social relations and health as well as difficulty to find balance between gaming and schoolwork were the recurrent negative aspects reflected upon.

Children also expressed a frustration with the lack of understanding from parents about gaming and esports. Moms and dads in the films are for the most part portrayed as overbearing and strict, as they try to stop their teens from gaming.

Alongside the CAP results, Telia Company and Save the Children Finland have released a guide material that will help parents and caregivers to support children in gaming responsibly and engage in discussions about online gaming and e-sports.

Read the guide for parents on online gaming here.

Read the full report here.

Watch a video about Children’s Advisory Panel 2019 workshops in schools:

Watch some animated films from some children, created in connection with the Children’s Advisory Panel 2019:

Taking a stance on responsible gaming

As Telia Company continues to increase its involvement in esports and gaming, it will now do so with the help of guiding principles for responsible digital gaming, developed together with Save the Children Finland.

Telia Company commits to promote integrity, fair play and inclusion, to adhere to age limits in order to protect minors from inappropriate content, and to provide equal opportunities in gaming. Promoting children’s rights and safety and a balance between gaming and other aspects of life is another principle to be followed in Telia Company’s gaming related activities.

Telia Company’s guiding principles for responsible digital gaming.

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

Watch some advice from some children, created in connection with the Children’s Advisory Panel autumn 2018:



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: 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)