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Researching Children’s Rights Globally in the Digital Age

Challenge 2: Standards for rigorous methods of cross-national comparison

The speakers of the second session share strategies for using rigorous and comparable methods for cross-national investigation. The speakers, all representatives of established cross-national surveys, discuss both the general challenges faced by large surveys, and the challenges encountered when measuring the risks and opportunities in children’s online experience. The panel raised questions on the rationale for standardised measures and replicable procedures, and on a wide range of survey data gathering issues.

Chair: Ellen Helsper, Associate Professor, LSE and EU Kids Online, UK


- Fiona Brooks
- Kjartan Ólafsson
- Clara Sommarin

1) Click play on the Soundcloud window to start an audio recording of each presentation
2) Advance PPT slides manually in the SlideShare window

Fiona Brooks
Professor, University of Hertfordshire, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HSBC), UK: ‘Learning from the Health Behaviour of school-aged Children survey’

Fiona Brooks presents on the HBSC and World Health Organization Collaborative Cross-national Survey. The longitudinal childhood study is conducted every four years in 40 countries on the social and environmental context of adolescent health and wellbeing. Brooks shares data on changes in internet usage and ownership of digital devices. Data from the study also helps examine relationships between: computer gaming and sleep; social media and social relationships; and computer use and the impact on measures of wellbeing.

Kjartan Ólafsson
Lecturer, University of Akureyri, Iceland and EU Kids Online: ‘Lessons from the EU Kids Online

Kjartan Olafsson presents on the EU Kids Online study of 25,000 children aged 9–16 and their parents in 25 European countries. The study brought together a network of European scholars and resulted in a series of reports, a research database, a book assessing the state of evidence-based policy for children’s technology, and a pan-European survey. Outputs of the network, now grown to include over 33 countries, include a research toolkit that has been used in Russia, Brazil and Australia to measure the risks and opportunities children encounter in their daily internet use. The cross-national studies allow for comparisons across age, gender, socioeconomic status and geography, as well as comparisons of parental mediation strategies.

Clara Sommarin
Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Child Protection, New York: ‘UNICEF’s Violence Against Children Surveys’

Clara Sommarin describes UNICEF’s Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) of 13 – 24 year olds that document childhood experiences of sexual, physical and emotional violence. Started in Swaziland in 2007, studies have been completed in nine countries in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, with an additional seven planned for the next few years. The surveys are part of a larger initiative to improve and develop national multi-sectoral programmes and policies, global advocacy and public awareness-raising. Findings allow for comparisons of the prevalence and magnitude of childhood violence across age, gender, geography and socioeconomic status.



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