The Project

Digital childhoods:
Assessing the opportunities, risks and policy frameworks for children’s engagement with the internet in Ireland

Digital Childhoods is a project supported by the Research Council of Ireland. The aim of the project is to enhance knowledge of the role played by digital technologies in the lives of young people. Building on the 2010 EU Kids Online survey of children’s use of the internet, this project consolidates and develops new research findings about Irish children’s digital experience within a comparative European framework. The project develops a critical analysis of current data on childhood, ICTs, opportunity and risk in Ireland. Existing quantitative data is augmented with new qualitative focus group studies on children’s understanding of internet opportunities and risks. The research provides a policy assessment of educational, e-inclusion, safety, and privacy dimensions of ICT use and will incorporate stakeholder engagement and guides to policy action in education, digital literacy and ICT regulation.


Two main questions are addressed within this research project:


  • a) What are the factors that shape opportunities, risks and outcomes for children in their use of ICTs in Ireland today?
  • b) How can research findings inform and guide policy action in education, awareness-raising, regulation and
    industry engagement?

The project is located in the Centre for Social and Educational Research at Dublin Institute of Technology, a designated DIT research centre dedicated to improving the quality of life
of children, family and society. The project is led by Brian O'Neill, IRCHSS Senior Research Fellow, and post-doctoral researcher Thuy Dinh, in association with centre-based expertise in early childhood, children’s rights, risk studies, ICT in education, and collaboration with key national agencies (National Centre for Technology in Education) and international partners (EU Kids Online).