Children and the internet in the news: agency, voices and agenda

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15 Citazioni (Scopus)


The theoretical framework of this chapter starts from the tension which typifies the public discourses on young people and children in late modern society. On the one hand, media discourses on children's use of and exposure to media technologies are predominantly framed by adult, hence moral and disciplining ideas about childhood and youth in modern society (Drotner, 1999; Wartella & Jennings, 2000; Critcher, 2003, 2008). On the other hand, there is the broader international movement to a more participatory approach on children, following the UNCRC, as being entitled to communicative rights, citizen's rights and political agency (Hamelink, 2008), experiencing different levels of recognition in European countries (James and James, 2008). The tension between these competitive visions of children's social positions is considered in the present context of journalism, affected by a crescent market-driven and competitive news media coverage (Harcup & O'Neill, 2001; Tuchman, 2002), in which an orientation to the private sphere and to children as news subjects is becoming more visible (Altheide, 2002). Within this theoretical framework, the coverage on children's both successful and harmful use of and exposure to online technologies is examined in 12 European countries that are economically, socially and culturally distinct from each other. More particularly, due to their orientation to the elites/opinion-makers and their influence on the public discourse (Sparks, 2000), focus is on the media coverage in the so-called quality newspapers, widely circulating in the 12 countries under study. Based on comparable data from a two-month media analysis (October-November 2007) and on EU Kids Online reports, the questions under discussion are threefold. First, how do news media across Europe present internet-related risks and opportunities, what is the newsworthiness of these stories based on and what are the dominant/marginal frames of media coverage? Second, because of the impact of media coverage on the public and policy debates over internet regulation, this chapter considers in particular which voices the media are representing. What are the voices that are heard in the news and what is their relevance for children’s experiences and rights? Third, the chapter examines similarities and differences between newspaper media coverage across 12 European countries. Taking into account cultural, economic and social differences that shape the public discourses on children and the internet across Europe, we ask how the newsworthiness and framing of stories change from one country to another. The answers to these questions are based on (1) a two-months quantitative content analysis of quality newspapers in 12 European countries, on (2) the deliverables resulting from work package 2 (the national reports, the forthcoming D2 (Stald, Livingstone & Haddon)) and on (3) the reports emerging from work package 3 (the national reports and D3.2 (Hasebrink, Livingstone & Haddon, 2008)
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteKids Online. Opportunities and Risks for Children
Numero di pagine13
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2009


  • children
  • internet
  • media coverage
  • risks


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