EU Kids Online is a multinational research network. This network is about to conduct an international survey about how children use the Internet. The survey seeks to enhance knowledge of European children's online opportunities, risks and safety. It will also map children's and parents' experience of the internet.
In preparation for the implementation of this survey, and in order to enhance its reliability, we wish to explore and establish how children refer to and talk about their experiences as these relate to how they use and interact with the internet, more specifically, to establish the conceptual framework they use and understand when discussing this topic.
We think that this is important in light of a recent cognitive testing of the modules in the proposed draft EU Kids online questionnaire, which was conducted during the summer of 2017 in the Czech Republic (see Bedrosova, Machackova, Dedkova and Smahel, 2017). This research shows that conceptual understandings of the internet and related technologies and experiences have evolved since the first EU Kids Online survey was conducted in 2009. This is unsurprising given the extent of technological and social change that has occurred during this time period. In particular, the children that took part in the research in the Czech Republic, for various reasons as outlined in the report, did not understand terms such as ‘chat room’ (2017, p. 6); ‘social media’ (2017, p. 11); and ‘blog' (2017, p. 12).
Furthermore, it is also known that children who use and interact with the internet are exposed to a variety of multilinguistic and multicultural resources. These resources include and relate to linguistic concepts such as ‘liking’, ’tagging’, messaging/SMS’ing. These concepts are taken up, (mis)interpreted, adapted, and used by children as part of their own conceptual framework (cf. reference). This also influences how children refer to, and may be asked to inform about, their experiences of using the internet. In particular, this may also vary from country to country and across different (multi)-linguistic and cultural contexts.
We therefore propose to conduct a qualitative research project to establish children’s current conceptual framework(s) with regard to using and interacting with the internet. In the following section, we detail our project description.