What is online risk? How can we best protect children from it? Who should be responsible for this protection? Is all protection good? Can Internet users trust the industry? These and other fundamental questions are discussed in this book. Beginning with the premise that the political and democratic processes in a society are affected by the way in which that society defines and perceives risks, Children in the Online World offers insights into the contemporary regulation of online risk for children (including teens), examining the questions of whether such regulation is legitimate and whether it does in fact result in the sacrifice of certain fundamental human rights. The book draws on representative studies with European children concerning their actual online risk experiences as well as an extensive review of regulatory rationales in the European Union, to contend that the institutions of the western European welfare states charged with protecting children have changed fundamentally, at the cost of the level of security that they provide. In consequence, children at once have more rights with regard to their personal decision making as digital consumers, yet fewer democratic rights to participation and protection as ’digital citizens’. A theoretically informed, yet empirically grounded study of the relationship between core democratic values and the duty to protect young people in the media-sphere, Children in the Online World will appeal to scholars and students across the social sciences with interests in new technologies, risk and the sociology of childhood and youth.
Elisabeth Staksrud is an associate professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo, Norway, and Research Fellow (2012-2013) at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, USA.
’Elisabeth Staksrud moves the debate about young people and the internet well beyond simplistic moral panics about risk and harm. In addition to meticulous empirical research, she offers a principled and rigorous discussion of media regulation and of children’s rights. This is a refreshing and challenging book, which will be a key point of reference for both future researchers and policy-makers.’ David Buckingham, Loughborough University, UK ’This closely-argued yet lively book throws new light on some controversial issues. How should the internet be regulated? What are children’s rights in relation to online freedoms and risks? Who best represents children’s interests in this debate? Framing her analysis within Ulrich Beck’s thesis of individualization and the risk society, Elisabeth Staksrud challenges both conventional and radical orthodoxies, revealing the apparently-specialised field of children’s online safety as indicative of wider forces in late modernity.’ Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK '... theoretically interesting and of contemporary significance to both scholars and policy makers in this area. Detailed consideration of [how online risk is regulated and the potential implications for children’s rights] mark this book as making a distinct and novel contribution to debates concerning children and the online world. That is, the book not only furthers existing debates on risk and regulation concerning children’s use of the internet, but it also has potential practical implications for how society and policy makers approach this problem. ... This book provides new insights into an area that is contemporary and constantly evolving. This unique contribution, as noted above however, is in highlighting the ’rights’-based discourses and the voices of children themselves and, importantly, how these may be impacted and undermined by social and political concerns with ’risk’ and ’regulation