Analyse and synthesis of the existing data

National researches Belgium

The Internet and young people

DE SMEDT Thierry, ROMAIN Lysiane, «Internet et les jeunes», UCL, GreMS, Apprendre avec les médias, Média-Animation, Bruxelles, 2002

"The Internet and young people" was a European survey carried out in 1999-200 in six European countries: Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Quebec, Switzerland.

The Belgian part was undertaken by Thierry De Smedt, Professor at UCL, and members of GreMS (Groupe de Recherche en mediation des savoirs). This survey was an initial investigation from ideas about the representations that young persons made of the Internet. The risks that they are likely to meet on the web must be presented to them as possibilities and not as prohibitions. Educational action must be taken on the basis of these ideas. It must teach young people how to take a critical view of the various attitudes they can adopt towards the Internet.

The intervention of an educational authority is necessary here (parents, teachers, educators, etc.). However, the idea of filters prohibiting access to certain sites (thought for a long time to be the universal answer to risks on the Internet) has not proved reliable and has in many cases proved to be ineffective.

Some elements of this investigation in relation to the risks of the Internet have been used in Educaunet.

"Télécole" or the assessment of the Media literacy in French Belgium

THOMAS F., «Télécole ou l'évaluation de la faisabilité de l'éducation aux médias en Belgique francophone», Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Novembre 1998.

Télécole is an experimental media literacy operation. This action took part in 1992, in the school area of the French part of Belgium, with the support of the "Fondation Roi Baudoin".

Involved in a way of research and reflection about Media Literacy, Télécole has carry out a concrete formation in 21 schools of fundamental and secondary teaching.

According to general evolutions, which is the age of the level of young people, conclusion of Télécole are the following :

The pupils, which have followed a Media Literacy program :

  • are more conscious of the different elements of the audiovisual message ;
  • are more conscious that the audio-scripto-visual document is built from different elements ;
  • pay low attention to the contents ;
  • are more able to contextualize audiovisual document in a economic universe of braodcats concurrence ;
  • are more conscious of their viewers competence ;
  • are able to identify which kind of document is presented to them (movie, advertising,...) ;
  • are able to define the picture with elements of its configuration;
  • are more conscious of the sound aspect of a audiovisual document (music or not, kinds of sounds, ...) ;
  • are able to put out their view second level reflections, which exceeded the audiovisual document ;
  • have a bigger knowledge of the television area in general.

Results are positives and the assessment is encouraging. Of course, Télécole have not create young people how are specialist in audiovisual supports. But this operation made them more sensible about the media they use every day and helps them to have a distanced glance to these media.

The general conclusions of this operation, even if they apply to television, testify to the relevance to set up a device of media literacy within teaching. Since 1992, the media landscape of young people moved around new technologies.

It is only within the framework of elaborate structures of school that media literacy is really relevant. It takes part of the general problematic of intellectual, cultural and emotional blooming of children. Media literacy can and must take the place, which it deserves, on all the school levels (without avoiding the training of the teachers) in order to make these pupils adults who are conscious of their media environment.

"The Internet in class ? How to work with teachers ?"

DAELE Amaury, HOUART Mireille, CHARLIER Bernadette, «Internet en classe ? Comment accompagner des enseignants ?» [1] , Recherche en éducation n°78/79,
Le Point de la Recherche en Education n°18, Namur, Décembre 2000.

Research subsidized by French Community and carried out by the Department Education and Technologies of Faculties Notre-Dame de la Paix of Namur.

This investigation was a research-action that associates the support of a teachers network, the design and the setting of practices, the exchange and the reflection.

Some teaching and social benefits of ICT seem to emerge: the motivation of the pupils, access to information and documentary resources, the exchange of information and communication between pupils or teachers and pupils, the encouragement of collaboration by facilitating the work of remote groups.

The main question was: what are the conditions which make it possible to support the establishment of a teaching innovation such as Internet use for training? Interviews were carried out with teachers.

The teacher's role is modified in the installation of activities. The teacher becomes a facilitator of on-site training rather than a transmitter of knowledge. Objectives are no longer focused solely on the subject being taught, but also on competences that the pupils will be led to develop.

This research shows the dominant vision in French-speaking Belgium consists in seeing the Internet as a element to teach. In schools the Internet is a tool for document creation. There is not a logic of a thought on the media itself, as we would request it in Media literacy.

"Give your SMS to Science"

This research is being carried out by the Centre for Natural Language Processing
(UCL - CENTAL) and began in October 2004. Its purpose is to carry out in-depth studies on 'SMS language'. A corpus of 75 000 SMS will be analysed.

Research in this project relates to linguistics (descriptive and systematic study of the language), sociolinguistics (which places linguistics in relation to social and cultural phenomena) and aspects related to engineering linguistics and teaching.

As opposed to the usual written communication, SMS language has the attributes of a short and fast language. The objective is to transmit an understandable message while making it as short as possible (a limited number of characters and discomfort of the typing). These constraints gave birth to a language that is based on multiple codes.

The sociolinguistic approach will have to pay careful attention to users' qualities (education, age, context of use: professional or recreational) and to place them in relation to the type of language observed. Some observers will find the consequences of this language to be positive (incentive to communicate and to express oneself in writing) or negative (contamination by writing procedures incompatible with standard writing).


Belgian Internet Mapping 2004 (BIM 12)

The survey organisation InSites carried out this survey (Founded in 1997 by two Professors of marketing of the University from Gent and two senior researchers of Vlerick Leuven Race Scholl Management, leaders in the field of the Internet and Web marketing, one of the principal European offices of online research). In 2004, 49 % of the Belgian population used the Internet at least once per month. 9,000 Belgian Net surfers responded to this research and 2,000 of them were contacted by telephone in order to complete this study.

Compared to 2003, the Internet penetration rate in Belgium increased by only 1%. This low rate is a consequence of the the low increase in the rate of penetration of computers in Belgium. Indeed, growth in the number of computers determines Internet growth.

Factors that influence the purchase of a computer are: needing it for children or for professional reasons. Non-traditional families not built on the "parent-children" model or single people have fewer computers. For this group, the purchase of a computer represents a significant outlay compared to the added value.

84% of Belgian net surfers use a high-bandwidth connection (ADSL or cable) at home. The 'high-bandwidth net surfers' spend twice as much time on the Internet as people who connect to the Internet by means of a low-bandwidth line. 35% of them leave their connection open permanently.

"Youth Online"

This study was undertaken by Insites and the i-Merge communications consultancy. Interviewed children were distributed in the following way: children (6 to 11 years), teenagers (12 to 17 years), and young adults (18 to 24 years) who use the Internet.

In 2002, 72 % of Belgian teenagers (12 to 17 years) regularly used the Internet
(37 % of adults).

Young Belgians are well equipped: 62 % of teenagers surf using a high-bandwidth connection; boys seem to use Internet in a more intensive way.

77 % of net surfers from 12 to 17 years old have a mobile phone. SMS seems to be the favourite means of communication for this generation. SMS makes it possible for young people to communicate with their friends in a language that parents do not understand, uses less of their call credit and allows them to pursue their other activities.

The investigation showed that television is the favourite media of young people up to 14 years old. Above that age, the Internet takes first place, followed by mobile phone and television. The function of the Internet is constantly changing for these young people, and hence also their favourite online activities.

"Evaluation of two years of signaletic : the survey carries out to young people"

Collectif, «Evaluation de deux ans de signalétique, rapport final», Institut de sociologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Mars 2003.

This survey is a part of the research carries out by The Institute of Sociology (Université Libre de Bruxelles) in 2002, ordered by the Ministère de la communauté française. This research is about the assessment of two years of signaletic, according to different points of views: the CSA (Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel) and the case law analyse, the broadcasts and their programs analyse, parents and children.

This survey focuses his attention on the (un) knowledge, the perception of things, opinions and habits of young people about television and signaletic. It gives us results about households equipment, uses of young people watching television, their knowledge of a signaletic and its signs, their opinion about it, their uses or misuse of this signs and their program choice.

The conclusions of this survey show that the interpretations of pictograms, which are broadcasts signaletic, are not homogenous. It is not easy to find the meaning of a pictogram by a simple examination. It is necessary to know it.

The examination of the signs knowledge shows that young people often associate this signs with age and not with agreements. Actually, to mention the age is addressed to young people themselves although an agreement involves the intervention of a person, of a parent. This should converge with the need that young people have to responsibly them.

The current signaletic involves and need to have a parental intervention. It seems to be addressed only to parents although young people want to participate to that. An explicit signaletic should go in this point of view: it should be addressed to parents and children themselves.

This survey, according to television, takes in evidence the behaviour of young people with a media that they are appropriating. We should suggest that young people involves themselves in the same manner on their relation with Internet.

The signaletic asks here the question of a control over young people and their access to some programs. This question should be also present in the relation between young people and Internet.


COLLECTIVE, 'L'école mise @u net: Enjeux de l'Education aux medias et à Internet' Conseil de L'Education aux medias, Bruxelles, 1999.

COLLECTIVE, 'Evaluation de deux ans de signalétique, rapport final', Institut de sociologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Mars 2003.

COLLECTIVE, 'Médias, éducation et apprentissages', Recherches en communication 15, Louvain-la-Neuve - UCL. Département de communication, 2001.

COLLECTIVE, 'Quelle éducation aux risques de l'Internet, actes de la journée d'études organisée dans le cadre de la campagne Cliquer futé', Apprendre avec les médias, Média-Animation, Bruxelles, Mars 2003.

DAELE Amaury, HOUART Mireille, CHARLIER Bernadette, 'Internet en classe ? Comment accompagner des enseignants ?'1, Recherche en éducation n°78/79,
Le Point de la Recherche en Education n°18, Namur, Décembre 2000.

DE SMEDT T. ; ROMAIN L., 'Internet et les jeunes ' avec la collaboration de Annabelle Klein, Maggie Marquès ; préface Yves Thiran, Média animation - Bruxelles, Université catholique de Louvain / GREMS - Louvain-La-Neuve, 2002.

DONNAY Jean, 'Nouveaux médias pédagogiques: nouvelles voies pour la formation des formateurs?', Formation recherche en éducation. Formation des enseignants16, Facultés universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix. Département éducation et technologie, Namur, 1989.

DUREUX Olivier, 'Premier p@s sur Internet : pour les jeunes internautes ... et leurs parents, !'illustrateur : Frédéric Thiry, Caramel, Strombeek-Bever, 2003.

FERRY J.M ; DE PROOSE S., 'L'école au défi de l'Europe : médias, éducation et citoyenneté postnationale', Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, 2003.

MEDIA ANIMATION, 'Educaunet [CD-ROM] : programme d'éducation critique aux risques liés à l'usage d'Internet', Média animation, Bruxelles, 2002.

PIRARD Anne-Marie, 'L'éducation aux médias en 12 questions / Réd. Finale', Fondation Roi Baudouin, Bruxelles, 1996.

Prof. FAIRON Cédrick, Prof. KLEIN Jean, (Promoteurs de la recherche), 'Faites don de vos SMS à la Science', étude en cours à l'UCL, Centre de traitement automatique du langage (CENTAL), Centre d'étude des lexiques romans (CELEXROM), 2004.

VALENDUC G., 'La technologie, un jeu de société. Au-delà du déterminisme technologique et du constructivisme social', Editions Academia Bruylant, collection 'Sciences et enjeux', 2005.

VREBOS P., 'Education aux médias : notes provisoires . 1ère-2e partie', Presses universitaires de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, 2003. : 'Usages et diffusion des TIC : Citoyens 2003', Agence wallonne des Télécommunication (AWT), 2003. Actions 'ClickSafe' (Child Focus, SPF of Justice and Federal Police force initiative). supported by the European Commission. : 'Belgian Internet Mapping 2004 (BIM 12)', 2004. : 'Youth Online ', 2002. : Observatory of the Rights of the Internet
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