Final DigiGen working paper: Understanding children and young people as digital citizens


Through the active involvement of children and young people, the project has been designed to generate insights that have the potential to impact upon developing effective policies and practices across Europe. Furthermore, the inclusion of children and young people as coresearchers has allowed us to uncover what is meaningful to them when using digital technology and what is less meaningful.

Data and methods

This final working paper in the DigiGen series builds on extensive qualitative data collected in 2020-2022 through individual interviews, focus group interviews and observation from 588 children and young people aged 5 to 18 in eight European countries, in addition to secondary analyses of existing databases on European children’s and young people’s well-being highlighted through their use of digital technology. Also, parents, teachers and other stakeholders have been interviewed. The analyses of qualitative data in this report have been prepared by scoping reviews of existing literature within each of the four domains. The scoping reviews have helped to highlight the continued focus in research on the multitude of risks such as internet addition, risky online behaviour, continued focus on screentime, the importance of parental mediation and a range of studies describing the individual and structural characteristics that represent and explain digital inequalities.

Policy recommendations

Following three years of research on the impact of digital transformations on children and youth, DigiGen has developed recommendations for policy and practice, acknowledging the need for proper governance distribution to support children in the digital era: through regulation, industry self-regulation, and civil society’s awareness raising. This can be done by employing a more holistic approach to digital access and competency. The recommendations in this working paper are addressed to EU policy frameworks as seen through the 2030 Digital compass, the European way for the Digital Decade, i.e. the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, the draft European Declaration on Digital rights and Principles for the Digital Decade, the Better Internet for Kids + strategy, the EU Digital Education Action Plan.

You can read the full working paper here.