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Youth Skills

Project description

Digital dangers for children

Digitisation poses many dangers for children and young people, but there is a lack of scientific data on impacts and contexts of the digital activity of children and adolescents, and we still lack solid knowledge of how to avoid it. The EU-funded ySKILLS project will conduct academic longitudinal research in six European countries on risks and opportunities from the information and communication technologies (ICT) uses for children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. The goal is to understand which skills they must obtain to knowingly and critically use ICT for their well-being, education, social life and how they can build resistance against negative impacts. The project will enable new strategies and policy recommendations.


ySKILLS starts from the observation that digitisation is changing society and requires a new set of digital skills, which many children and adolescents currently do not master. This can negatively affect their educational, informational and social inclusion and wellbeing. Longitudinal and robust academic research on children’s and adolescents’ digital uses, the use context and its impact is lacking on national and European levels. ySKILLS examines risks and opportunities related to children’s and adolescents’ (aged 12 to 17) ICT uses and their digital skills to understand how to purposefully use ICTs towards greater cognitive, physical, psychological and social wellbeing. We offer a critical perspective on the notion of skills itself: by extending traditional conceptions of skills, by recognising children’s critical views on their skills as young citizens with agency, voice and rights. ySKILLS will predict which children are more at risk of having low levels of wellbeing because of their ICT use, and to understand how digital skills can function as building resilience against negative impacts. This results in a comprehensive, evidence-based explanatory and foresight model predicting the complex impacts of ICT use on children’s and adolescents’ wellbeing in Europe, and the role of digital skills that can enhance their wellbeing. ySKILLS will conduct a longitudinal three-wave survey in six countries, selected based on their ranking as low, medium and high on the 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index. Adding to this survey, cognitive wellbeing will be investigated with fMRI in two countries. ICT use patterns will be analysed among at-risk groups in in-depth studies in six complementary countries. Through an effective dissemination strategy and practice and policy recommendations, framed in terms of children’s rights, the interdisciplinary ySKILLS consortium will strengthen the necessary interaction among the relevant stakeholders and practitioners involved.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 567 250,00
3000 Leuven

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 567 250,00

Participants (15)