Research in the last five years has documented a range of proven benefits for children of participating online, including positive impacts on formal and informal learning; health and well-being; literacy; civic and/or political participation; play and recreation; identity; belonging; peer, family and intergenerational relationships; individual and community resilience; and consumer practices (Swist et al., 2015). Even so, relatively little is understood about the various benefits and opportunities children can access online. If governments, communities, parents and children themselves are to activate the potential for digital media to support children’s rights, it is vital that research documents more systematically the relationship between the digital and children’s protection, provision and participation rights.
This method guide situates current research on online benefits and opportunities in relation to key trends in global research on digital practice, and identifies the key issues that shape children’s capacity to maximise the positive impacts of their online engagement. It then documents some of the challenges to research, and proposes a set of principles and critical questions to guide researchers in designing appropriate studies. This Guide is not exhaustive. Rather, it aims to orient researchers in developing internationally comparable and culturally appropriate frameworks for understanding the scope and impact of the opportunities for children online.
The guide also includes: a checklist with key steps to consider when planning research on children’s online opportunities and a list of key resources.
All resources developed by Global Kids Online, including this report, are available under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC) and can be used only for non-commercial purposes and with attribution.
The preferred citation for this report is:
Third, Amanda (2016) Researching the benefits and opportunities for children online. London: Global Kids Online. Available from: www.globalkidsonline.net/opportunities