Media representations and children’s discourses on online risks: Findings from qualitative research in nine European countries


Prior research has pointed to cross-national variations in media attention for online risks, which are then mirrored in parental concerns regarding the internet. However, little is known so far about how the discursive environment around opportunities and risks of the internet for children shapes the very context in which children’s own perceptions are developed and their online experiences are situated. The aim of this contribution is threefold: (1) to understand how and to what extent children’s perceptions of online risks incorporate media representations, parental worries and discourses circulating among peers; (2) to identify any age- or gender-specific patterns in the appropriation and conversion of media, parents’ and peers’ discourses; and (3) to identify whether there are cross-cultural variations in risk perceptions.

Risk awareness, online risks, children, qualitative methods, cross-cultural research
Author biographies

Giovanna Mascheroni

Author photo Giovanna Mascheroni, PhD, is a Lecturer in Sociology of Communication and Culture in the Department of Sociology at Università Cattolica of Milan and a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was the coordinator of the Net Children Go Mobile project and has been the national contact of the EU Kids Online network since 2007. She is also part of the research project, WebPolEU: Comparing Social Media and Political Participation across EU (

Ana Jorge

Author photo Ana Jorge is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Guest Assistant Professor in New University of Lisbon, studying children and media. She holds a Media and Journalism Studies PhD from the same university and a Masters in Sociology of Communication from ISCTE, Lisbon. She takes part in RadioActive101 project (2013-14) and EU Kids Online network (2008-14).

Lorleen Farrugia

Author photo Lorleen Farrugia is a PhD Candidate at the University of Malta researching the understanding of online risks and safety by Maltese children. She has researched young people and self-disclosure on Reality TV. Lorleen has been a member of the EU Kids Online Network ( since 2012, and she is also a member of the Malta Communications Authority BeSmartOnline! Advisory Board.

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