THE LATEST STUDY: CHILDREN EXPECT GREATER SUPPORT FROM PARENTS IN THEIR ONLINE ACTIVITIES
The latest study: 63% of children in Latvia acknowledge that they spend more time on their phone/tablet/computer than they feel is good for them. This is the highest indicator in Scandinavia and the Baltics. Also, children in Latvia feel significantly less support from parents regarding their online life than children of the same age in Scandinavia, despite the fact that Latvian children expect more support, interest, and involvement of parents in their online activities than children in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
Recently the Telia Company’s “Children Advisory Panel” published the latest study, which has already taken place for several years to find out what challenges and opportunities children face in the digital environment.
The “Children Advisory Panel” research in 2018 took place in 7 countries – Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The questions to which children responded were related to friendship, trust, schoolwork, physical and psychological well-being, and family relationships when it comes to a healthy and safe online life. In addition to the questionnaire, children also created short animated films with advice for younger children on how to behave in a digital environment to feel protected and maintain a positive mood.
Although altogether half of the children (49%) consider that their parents support their online hobbies and interests, in the Baltics the results are considerably lower than in Scandinavia. While in Sweden 58% of children agree with this statement, in Estonia it is only 32%, but in Latvia and Lithuania – 39% of children agree.
Half of the children who participated in the study in Latvia believe that the internet has helped them to meet new friends (48%) and prepare for school to learn more than the teacher asked (47%). These data are very close to the total data of Scandinavia and the Baltic states. In all countries (56% on average), but very clearly in Latvia and Lithuania (69% and 70% respectively), children go online when they are distressed to find things that bring them joy. However, the highest number of children (63%) who acknowledge that they spend more time on their phone/tablet/computer than they feel is good for them, is in Latvia. In all 7 countries this indicator is around 38%, furthermore it is lowest in Scandinavia – around 30%. In the other two Baltic states – Lithuania and Estonia, this indicator is 55% and 50% respectively.
“Adults can distinguish the virtual environment from real life but children do not feel strict boundaries between the technological world and daily life,” – believes Iluta Lāce, director of the Resource Centre for Women “Marta”, which carried out the Telia-initiated study in Latvia. “Games and homework are routine for children, and the fact that on the internet one can create and maintain friendships, has high worth to the child. Children want to feel like they belong and technologies give them this feeling of belonging and bring emotions. Therefore we, adults, must learn not to neglect and support a good and positive online life of children.”
This is also confirmed by a study showing an interesting trend among Latvian children compared to children from Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland). Latvian children are less likely to experience parental support for their online lives than children of the same age in Scandinavia. However, our children more than other children in Scandinavia expect more support, interest, and engagement in their online activities.
CHILDREN’S ADVICE TO OTHER CHILDREN
Friendship is the most popular subject among Latvian children, as the most animated films were made about this topic. The films mostly revolve around how to establish healthy relationships online by being kind and supportive to others. They also speak of the current topic in society – the use of mobile phones while driving at the wheel.
Trust is about not being gullible and not initiating conversations or contact with strangers online or offline. Also, you should listen to your parents when they tell you to be careful.
Children think that it is important that schoolwork is prioritised and one should not use their mobile during lessons or when doing homework in order to fully focus on schoolwork.
Well-being is about not taking computer games too seriously, for other children not to get angry about failures, not allowing online activities to take up too much time, thus alienating them from friends.
For Latvian children, the family theme revolves around having confidence and showing love and respect for your parents. In the end, the family is more important than the internet.
ABOUT “CHILDREN ADVISORY PANEL”
The “Children Advisory Panel” (CAP) is an initiative by Telia Company in collaboration with child rights organisations and schools in seven countries across the Nordics and the Baltics. It was established several years ago to better understand the views of children themselves on online life and digital themes. In 2018, more than 770 children aged 12 participated in the study. They shared advice on a healthy online life, preparing short animated films on tablets. In Latvia, this study was carried out by the Resource Centre for Women “Marta”. In Latvia, 102 children participated in the study and created 23 animated films.
More information about the study’s methodology, as well as all the results by countries, is available here.