20 Nov 2018

Children’s Advisory Panel – sustainability initiative by Telia

The Children’s Advisory Panel (CAP) is an initiative by Telia Company (owners of Telia Latvija) in collaboration with child rights organizations and schools in seven countries across the Nordics and the Baltics. It was created to get a better understanding of children’s own perspectives of online and digital aspects of life by listening to them through qualitative co-creative methods. The aim of the initiative is to further develop Telia Company’s understanding of how to improve its approach to children as users of its technology, and to contribute to the ICT industry’s and society’s understanding of children as online citizens.

“Children need to belong. They long to connect, build strong relationships, explore life and learn stuff that they feel is important. Seen from the mind of a child, parents and teachers are the important support figures who should be taken for granted. The conscious focus for their needs is their peers, mostly at school and to some extent online. Online life is an extension of the friends they see at school. This means that when something goes wrong, technology can spread conflict and exacerbate problems”, admit Søren Kjær Jensen, founder and director of children inclusion centre in Denmark “Center for Rummelighed”.

Therefore in autumn 2018, more than 770 12-year-olds participated in the CAP activities and created their own advice for a healthy online life. School classes participated in co-creative workshops, organized by Telia. The advice was created on tablets in the format of short animated films using the Plotagon animation tool.

In Latvia CAP initiative was realised in cooperation of Telia Latvija, NGO MARTA Centre and three schools – private secondary school “Patnis” in Riga, Iecava secondary school and Talsi State Gumnasium.

Five pre-determined themes for children to formulate their advice for a healthy online life

Children participating in the workshops were given five pre- determined perspectives from which to consider a healthy life: friendship, trust online, schoolwork, well-being and family. When looking at children’s online lives, these perspectives seem to be the most relevant and most of ten affected, both positively and negatively, by children’s use of the internet. These were also the themes for children to develop their advice on, with the help of the Plotagon animation tool.

Summary of children advice to younger kids

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 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.

Despite their positive view of the internet, the animated films demonstrated children’s awareness of the risks and distractions of online life. When dealing with online information, 63% of the surveyed children know how to find out if online information is true or not; 42% believe they often encounter online rumors. They advise turning to parents or other adults for support, to be cautious and verify the information encountered online.

“The results of this latest CAP research confirm our earlier findings – that children are already quite informed and resilient online users and have strategies to cope with a variety of online risks. The use of animated films has been an enlightening and creative way to learn children’s own perspectives, which will be valuable both for Telia Company and our partner organizations in future work on children’s rights”, said Anne Larilahti, Head of Sustainability, Telia Company.

Full report



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