The conditions of internet access and use by children are changing: access is increasingly personalized and mobile, despite the use of portable devices is constrained by parental and school’s rules, financial constraints and social norms. While devices and platforms are new, what children do online has not changed radically, rather, the quantitative and qualitative findings of the Net Children Go Mobile project show that the online experience of smartphone and tablet users is enhanced. Children who go online from portable devices communicate more easily, look up information in real time, and in general have more diverse ways of following up there interests online. They also have a higher level of digital skills, safety skills and communicative abilities. And they feel more connected to their friends thanks to smartphones (81% of interviewed children think so).
But that very ease is also the downside. So while many children believe they are more sociable since they have had a smartphone, three out of four children (72%) also report being feeling they have to be constantly available to peers, and 50% reported feeling a “strong need” to check their phones. So children lament being annoyed by the pressure to be “always on”, distracted by constant notifications and tempted to use the technologies to the detriment of their other offline interests. For more details download the final report here.