• Programme: H2020, Call: H2020-SC6-TRANSFORMATIONS-2018-2019-2020
  • Funding period: 01/2020-12/2023
  • Funding amount: €3.2 million, of which €220,000 for Bavaria
  • Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Leen d’Haenens, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Project number: 870612
  • Website: www.yskills.eu

EU project ySKILLS – risks and opportunities of a digital environment for children and adolescents

Social media, chatting, online gaming – the digital world is becoming increasingly complex and new knowledge and skills are becoming increasingly important in times of cyberbullying and ‘sexting’ (exchange of messages on sexual topics) especially for children and adolescents. But how do they actually deal with the complexity of the digital environment? And how can you protect them from negative effects? The ySKILLS project is investigating this in order to strengthen the positive aspects of digitalization in the long term.

According to the 2020 EU Kids Online Study, the majority of children and adolescents in Europe use their smartphones every day. In the past ten years, not only has the proportion of 9- to 16-year-old smartphone users increased, but also the daily Internet usage. These children and adolescents in Europe are now spending an average of 2.4 hours online a day, and 3 hours a day on weekends. While ‘only’ 38 percent of 9- to 11-year-olds go online with their smartphones, the share of 12- to 14-year-olds is 72 percent. In the oldest group of 15- to 17-year-olds, 90 percent access the Internet via their smartphone.
And yet, many children receive too little support and tips on safe online use.

Deficits in digital skills create uncertainty and fear

Despite the widespread view that children and adolescents belong to the ‘digital generation’, there is a serious deficit in digital skills. Although this generation is familiar with digital technology, in times of data protection and Internet bullying, this group is increasingly feeling insecure or anxious. To be able to assess the trustworthiness of an information source or to detect manipulators on the Internet, digital skills are essential for a confident use of digital technology. However, where do children and teenagers learn this?

ySKILLS identifies the elements of uncertainty in order to promote confident usage

The EU project ySKILLS aims to develop measures that enable children and adolescents to learn how to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) with confidence. An interdisciplinary network of researchers will identify actors and factors that may unsettle children and adolescents, and develop conditions that increase their resilience and well-being. 
To achieve these goals, ySKILLS brings together 15 leading international research centres for media science, communication science, youth research, psychology, pedagogy, law, educational neuroscience and sociology from 13 European countries in its consortium led by KU Leuven (Belgium). 


  • Extensive proofreading of the application


Prof. Dr. Natalia Wächter

Prof. Dr Natalia Waechter
Project Manager ySKILLS at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and
Professor for Social Education at the Karl Franzens University in Graz
Tel.: +43 (0)316 380 - 2558
Email: natalia.waechter@no-spam-pleaseuni-graz.at natalia.waechter@no-spam-pleaseuni-graz.at

Contact at BayFOR

Dr. Anna Abelmann-Brockmann
Scientific Officer Socio-economic Sciences & Humanities | Security
Phone: +49 89 9901888-166
Email: abelmann@no-spam-pleasebayfor.org

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