Between January 2005 and June 2006, universities, government ministries, associations and foundations from 9 European countries - Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and United Kingdom – collaborated on an applied research project for media education called Mediappro (“media appropriation”).
These various institutions, specializing in media education, designed a study
to explore how young people between the ages of 12-18, appropriate digital media, including networks and portable media, such as the Internet, mobile phones and video games.
A similar survey was also carried out during the same period in Quebec, Canada. This complementary approach allows for comparison and a better understanding of the situation in Europe and North America.
Why is it necessary to have detailed knowledge on the appropriation of electronic media when it comes to the safety of young people ? The main hypothesis underpinning this project is that young people’s safety on the Internet and in their use of other digital media depends largely on their own actions. Internet users who find themselves the victim of a harmful situation, have always, in one way or an other, put their own selves at risk. As such, behaviour, attitudes and perceptions are important factors of safety. Consequently, it is essential to help young people to be as competent as possible when they use network communication devices. In order to help develop the competences and skills of young people, it is important to understand how youth use and perceive network technology.
For this reason, Mediappro aims to enhance user safety by identifying how young people appropriate digital media and how their practices differ within different contexts of use (at school and at home, for example). Our final objective is to empower leaders and all those engaged
in the field of new media education by developing relevant guidance for safer use and to increase young people’s responsibility, autonomy and awareness in their uses of these media.