Purpose – This article aims to explore the role of online environments in children’s everyday life. We examine the meanings that children aged 11-13, parents and teachers derive from their understanding of online environments and make a typology of the perceived opportunities and risks of the online environments for children. The research questions are: how do children, parents and teachers experience the effect of online environments on children’s everyday lives, what opportunities and risks for children are noticed in online environments and what similarities and differences are there in children’s, parents’ and teachers’ point of views in terms of opportunities and risks? The theoretical framework of the study consists of the discussion on opportunities and risks of using online environments. Design/methodology/approach – The data were collected by conducting semi-structured interviews in Finland in 2012. Altogether, 27 interviews were conducted with children, parents and primary school teachers. The interview data were analysed with content analysis. Findings – As a result, we found four types of perceived effects that represent opportunities and risks: learning and socialization, sense of community and empowerment, antisocial behaviour and threat to security. According to this study, children, parents and teachers agree with each other in many issues concerning children’s use of the online environments. On the other hand, children also have issues and problems that parents and teachers may not be aware of, or they do not view them as important. Originality/value – This qualitative study focused on how children, parents and teachers described their subjective feelings about the effects of using the online environments. Thus, this study provides a new viewpoint on the research that has mostly relied on querying parents or teachers about children’s use of the Internet, neglecting children’s often different perspectives on the risks of the Internet.
Young Consumers – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 20, 2015
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