Awareness of eSafety and Potential Online Dangers among Children and Teenagers

Gila Cohen Zilka
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 16  •  2017  •  pp. 319-338
Aim/Purpose: Awareness of eSafety and potential online dangers for children and teenagers.
Background The study examined eSafety among children and teenagers from their own perspectives, through evaluations of their awareness level of eSafety and of potential online dangers.

Methodology: This is a mixed-method study with both quantitative and qualitative elements. The study includes questionnaires and interviews. A total of 345 participants from Israel completed questionnaires; 90 children and teenagers were interviewed from among the participants.

Contribution: The study examined the awareness of children and youths of safe online surfing. It also examined the degree of exposure of children and youths to positive and negative aspects of the Internet.
This study illustrates the dual potential of Internet use within the context of eSafety, as seen through the eyes of children and teenagers. Characteristics of use of the Internet are liable to increase the danger to and the bullying of youths and by youths in the digital domain. It also demonstrates the promises of using the Internet for productive learning and leisure activities.

Findings: Findings show that the children and teenagers who participated in the study reported a medium-high level of awareness. Issues that participants were concerned about included avoiding contact with strangers and cyberbullying, not necessarily by strangers, but also by friends.

Recommendations for Practitioners : It is important to examine how children perceive online events for the purpose of examining their statements regarding eSafety and the way they view problematic or dangerous online events, as well as how they believe they can cope with them.

Recommendation for Researchers: The study recommends incorporating in future studies individual case studies and allowing participants to express how they perceive complex online situations.

Impact on Society: This study illustrates the dual potential, positive and negative aspects, of Internet use within the context of eSafety, as seen through the eyes of children and teenagers.

Future Research: Future studies should track changing eSafety awareness and behavior longitudinally to identify the impact of maturation and experience on their behavior and attitudes.
Internet, children, teenagers, eSafety, cyberbullying
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