The ySKILLS Project aims to enhance and maximise long-term positive impact of the information and communication technology (ICT) environment on multiple aspects of wellbeing for all children, by stimulating resilience through the enhancement of digital skills.
The project, funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, focuses on digital skills and in particular on certain risks that are linked to the use of digital media by children. The initiative proposes a holistic, child-centric approach to understanding how the use of the internet and digital technologies has variable consequences for children’s rights to participation, information, freedom of expression, education, and play, and to protection from harm.
In doing so, the consortium of the project – that brings together leading international centres for research on media studies, communication sciences, youth research, psychology, pedagogy, law, educational neuroscience and sociology (including KU Leuven, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Helsinki and others) – set up 4 main objectives:
- Acquire extensive knowledge and better measurement of digital skills.
- Develop and test an innovative, evidence-based explanatory and foresight model predicting the complex impacts of ICT use and digital skills on children’s cognitive, psychological, physical and social wellbeing.
- Explain how at-risk children (in terms of mental health, ethnic or cultural origin, SES and gender) can benefit from online opportunities despite their risk factors (material, social, psychological).
- Generate insightful evidence-based recommendations and strategies for key stakeholder groups to promote digital skills and wellbeing.
The ySKILLS results will be framed in terms of the rights of the child to identify the steps required to strengthen policy towards a safer and overall more beneficial use of digital technologies by children.