A case study on the use and risks of the Internet in the underage population. From perception to awareness


The Internet has become the backbone of everyday life, especially in children and adolescents. Certainly, the largest network in the world offers many benefits, but improper use and conflicting situations can jeopardize the identity and health of young people. In this regard, the lack of maturity in digital contexts and the risk management of young people on the Internet is of concern to the educational community. Therefore, the doctoral dissertation has examined conflicting experiences and practices of the Internet use among children and adolescents through a case study that encompasses the perceptions of Primary School 4th, 5th and 6th grade students, families and educational professionals. The methodological procedure has been divided into two main phases and compared the different participants, strategies and categorizations. The results are clear and an alarm signal. Use of the Internet and mobile devices is general among Primary School students. They are primarily connected for leisure and peer communication and, despite having a short experience using the network, most have experienced some conflicting situations: cyberbullying, contact with stranger, and inappropriate content. However, knowledge of families and educational professionals about the digital reality of young people is partial. Therefore, the need to raise awareness about responsible use of the Internet is widespread throughout the community: it is essential to work out the risks of the Internet, the digital identity and the safe use of the network from the very beginning, and that is the responsibility and involvement of educational agents. At the end of the work, an educational proposal to raise awareness and a guide for teaching in Primary Schools is offered. Directors: Pilar Aristizabal and María Teresa Vizcarra.

Rakel Gamito
Rakel Gamito
Professor and Researcher