In their own words: What bothers children online?

Sonia Livingstone, Lucyna Kirwil, Elisabeth Staksrud, Maria Cristina Mendes da Ponte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


In an open-ended survey question to European 9- to 16-year-olds, some 10,000 children reported a range of risks that concern them on the internet. Pornography (named by 22% of children who mentioned risks), conduct risk such as cyber-bullying (19%) and violent content (18%) were at the top of children's concerns. The priority given to violent content is noteworthy insofar as this receives less attention than sexual content or bullying in awareness-raising initiatives. Many children express shock and disgust on witnessing violent, aggressive or gory online content, especially that which graphically depicts realistic violence against vulnerable victims, including from the news. Video-sharing websites such as YouTube were primary sources of violent and pornographic content. The findings discussed in relation to children's fear responses to screen media and the implications for the public policy agenda on internet safety are identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-288
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal Of Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Children's perceptions
  • online risks
  • policy implications
  • violent content
  • YouTube


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