Using Mixed Methods to Research Children’s Online Opportunities and Risks in a Global Context: The Approach of Global Kids Online

Abstract

This case presents the Global Kids Online research model, revealing the challenges of researching children’s Internet and mobile use in a global context and providing practical methodological solutions. With most available research conducted in the global North while most growth in the population of young Internet users is occurring in the global South, researchers are faced with the challenge of creating research tools that are both context sensitive, yet able to capture children’s experiences of the Internet on a global scale, and that allow for robust cross-country comparative approaches. The Global Kids Online methodology is designed for children aged 9 to 17 years who use the Internet at least minimally and for adult respondents (the children’s parents or carers). It includes a survey of parents and children and individual and group interviews with children. The Global Kids Online project was developed as a collaborative initiative between the London School of Economics and Political Science, the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti, and the EU Kids Online network to address this need for a robust global evidence based on children’s online opportunities and risks, and their effects on children’s well-being and rights, which can be used to inform national and international policy, regulation, and practice.

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