Children and young people are very active users of digital technology from an early age. Recent research shows that children learn quickly from mirroring the behaviour of parents, of older siblings and peers. On one hand, children have acquired independency and skills within the digital world; on the other, they lack reflective and critical thinking as well as awareness about opportunities and risks such as cyber-bullying or digital identity theft. Active adult’s mediation would allow for the integration of values and critical thinking but so far, adults seem poor active mediators and in need of practical tools of empowerment.
Despite the wide range of offline and online resources and cyber-safety initiatives in the European Union, there is an urgent need for teaching aids in cybersecurity/online safety/data protection awareness, digital literacy and skill development to be brought to the attention of teachers, educators and parents as ‘ready-for-use’ resources.
JRC researchers have conceived and developed the Happy Onlife product as a peer and media edutainment toolkit promoting safe and responsible uses of ICT among adults and children (8 - 12 yrs old). It comprises a set of resources and best practices to raise awareness about ethical and educational challenges of ICT, including online safety risks for privacy, cybersecurity and cyberbullying affecting children’s life.
JRC infield events highlighted that Happy Onlife opens a path to empower teachers and parents in actively guiding children to become smarter, responsible, and respectful when using digital technologies and help them understand opportunities, skills, risks and consequences behind the decisions they make online.
Since its release on August 2015, until October 2016, more than 1500 IT paper kits were distributed free in 16 Italian regions and more than 2186 worldwide installations were downloaded free from the mobile stores.
Contact: jrc-happyonlife [at] ec.europa.eu