In this episode of the Digital Sociology Podcast I spoke to Mariya Stoilova who is working on a project called Global Kids Online. Mariya is based at the London School of Economics but the project is an international one which looks at the experiences, opportunities, risks and rights and how these relate to inequalities.

The project developed out of a previous one called EU Kids Online and Mariya has been working on developing an open source toolkit which is adaptable to countries in the global south. Central to their project is challenging the idea that the internet is a space dominated by risk but also one which provides opportunities for them. Conversely, there is also a “digital determinist” discourse which is equally simplistic which assumes that access to the internet will in itself produce more highly skilled and knowledgeable young people.

The research has produced findings which show a nuanced picture particularly around how risk is understood differently by children compared to older people. For instance, children will often not see contacting people they don’t online to be risky and also might consider friends of friends to not be strangers (even if they have never met).

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