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Getting acquainted with research

This first area of the education toolkit guides educators and teachers through the important key topics:

  • online risks

  • digital skills

  • wellbeing

  • privacy

  • cyberbullying

In doing so, the toolkit provides helpful materials and resources and offers an easy way into working with research and evidence.

Key topics on children's and young people's experiences online

Digital technologies are commonly used at home and at school and are an important part of children and youngsters’ social life and leisure time. They help them stay in touch with friends, relatives, peers, and others. They use them to have fun, to learn new things, to express themselves, to find information and for many other purposes. Digital technologies bring along many opportunities for children and adolescent development but also new challenges and sometimes also risks and harm.

Research about children and digital technologies has grown exponentially. In fact, in the last decade thousands of studies that explore the impact of these technologies in children and young people’s lives have been published. We also see an increasing interest from a wide range of disciplines in researching these issues, for instance, social sciences, psychology, education, medicine, and even legal studies. Because these disciplines focus on different aspects of children’s relationship with technologies, we now have access to a huge amount of knowledge about, for instance, how technologies relate to children and young people’s wellbeing, physical and mental health, learning outcomes, social relationships, self-esteem, children’s rights, and many other topics. Of course, this is great! The more knowledge we possess, the better. However, having access to so much knowledge can be overwhelming, especially because research publications are written for a specialised audience and not for the general public. 

In a field where things are constantly changing, as is the case of digital technologies, it isn’t easy to keep up with research. Besides, you may struggle to find or understand academic publications, especially if they are full of specialised jargon or are not freely accessible, or you may lack time or the motivation to read usually dense scientific journals or long reports. So, even if you are convinced that research about children and technologies is important for you as an educator, as a parent, and/or as a professional working with children, it isn’t evident to remain up to date. For this reason, resources and platforms which offer research updates in reader-friendly formats, such as blog articles or infographics, are much needed.

The knowledge gained from research can help improve teaching and learning practices, to inform policy decisions and, ultimately, can help children and young people be healthier, more skilled, and more responsible online. For this reason, the CO:RE project wants to help educators like you, to get closer to research by offering you key insights on the topic, providing ideas about how to use research in your work and by helping you keep up to date through our recommended resources.  We hope you will enjoy learning more about what current research says about the key topics we have selected for you!

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