The Digital Citizenship and Safety project is framed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Turkish Government has been a signatory since 1990. Turkey and many other countries seeking a contemporary interpretation of some of the articles - in the digital age. What do some of the rights such as the right to access information, the right to express views, the right to privacy constitute for today’s youth? How are they even translated in the world of new technologies and varying cultures and socio-economic environments of different countries. On the one hand it is about the rights that this country among other 190 countries have signed up for .. But it is also about reality .. With billions of people having now a dual life (real and virtual) hundreds of millions of children (young, teenagers, etc.) are spending more and more time on the web. This brings lots of opportunities and not a small number of risks. This project is about supporting rights, seizing opportunities and managing risks.The project is also a partnership with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Governments and NGOs, academia, and private companies. It looks at compiling a situation analysis in each country around the access, behavior, opportunities, rights impacted by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as well as the risks faced by adolescents and young people when using ICTs. Once we have the situation analysis we work together on all possible fronts including advocacy and legal fronts to again reinforce rights, seize more opportunities and be better at avoiding risks.
The project consists of three phases. First, the data collection phase where the evidence surrounding the access, use, digital behavior, safety risks and rights is assessed through different methodologies starting with an exploratory study meaning the review of all secondary data and then quantitative and qualitative surveys to fill the gaps and needs for further research identified. There is a structured approach in validating all the data collected in this phase through partnerships with the local and international knowledge leaders and validation workshops.
The campaign mobilization phase focuses on evidence-based creation of communication materials to raise awareness on the optimal and safe use of ICTs to support children and young people to become responsible digital citizens. Many of the campaigns and materials are designed with youth participation.
Finally, the policy advocacy phase of the project enables the discussion of ICT-related issues and focuses on how current approaches can be re-adjusted or strengthened so that opportunities surrounding ICTs are maximized and the risks minimized for children. Here, depending on the country, this phase happens simultaneously with the phase two mobilization campaign but, in any case, has to happen post data collection to ensure advocacy approaches are evidence-based.
Currently the project is operating in the countries appearing in green such as Turkey, Brazil, Argentina but also South Africa, Ukraine, Russia and Indonesia. Each country finds their own approaches on the way evidence is collected. For example, in Indonesia, the Government is taking the lead in the collection of data and UNICEF, and Harvard act as capacity building experts, providing technical expertise on methodologies to support the work. In South Africa, the research component took the shape of a working group composed of Government actors, private actors, academia and identified national experts convening around the different themes and share knowledge and expertise. The process however for all countries has been highly collaborative to ensure high quality output and sustainability. 8 green countries. Can we lose the ones under discussion … the oranges!
Now, what has been done in Turkey so far? The project underwent the exploratory research which enables to lay the foundation of knowledge. While, there is a need for further research in this field in Turkey, the data captured in the paper Young Turks Online is a solid start. Academia, Government, civil society, all have been conducting this excellent research phase.
This presentation will offer you a snapshot of the findings of the exploratory paper starting with the general characteristics of the Turkish digital landscape.
The digital environment of the youth of Turkey is diverse and consists of mainly Western platforms but also some smaller local ones such as Sahibinden (xxxxxxx), MyNet or Vatan (xxxxxxxxxxx). Pronunciation!!Compared to some of its neighboring countries such as Russia, there appear less platforms that have been developed within Turkey. For instance, Russia has its own substantial social networking sites, Vkontakte (In Contact) (xxxxxxxx) pronunicationwhich offers many of the options similar to Facebook but also a blogging platform incorporated in the social network site and a full video search capability. RuTube is another example of a Russian bred platform that is used by its youth in lieu of YouTube. Why are comparing russia and turkey?[Source: Comscore]
Nowwhich youth is accessing all these devices? Analyzing some of the data available, digital divides in location-based and gender-based gaps have been revealed. As you can see, the disparity in ICT equipment ownership and access is very high between urban and rural areas in Turkey. In a “household ICT ownership and access survey” conducted by the TurkStat in 2010, it was found that while 48.7 per cent of urban dwellers aged 16-74 have access to the Internet, only 24 per cent have access in rural areas.Due to lower costs, the gap in mobile phone ownership is not as significant, with 92.8 per cent of urban population owning mobile phones, as compared to 85 per cent for rural populations.(Source: TurkStat, ‘ICT Use in Households’, 2010)It should be noted that Turkey lags behind almost all of its European neighbors in Internet and mobile subscriber penetration rates but exceeds all of Middle East countries (except Israel and Gulf nations). (ITU 2010)
An examination of the level of ICT usage in Turkey reveals a profound gender participation gap. While 78.5 per cent of males aged 16-24 use a computer, only 52.7 per cent of females in the same age range do so. Likewise, while 76.6 per cent of males aged 16-24 use the Internet, only 49.9 per cent of females aged 16-24 do so. Therefore, the gender participation gap in Turkey is quite significant especially compared to its neighboring European countries. This type of gaps hampers the principle of universal and equitable access to information. It should also be noted that there is a narrowing gender gap as the education level increases for females.[Source: TurkStat, ‘ICT Use in Households’, 2010]The paper also looks into age participation gap and digital literacy levels in Turkey in order to evaluate to what extent the right to access information, which is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is universal.
In a study of 366 children aged 6-13 from four regions of Turkey, East Anatolia, South Anatolia, Marmara and Aegean, 61.9 per cent reported that they had a home Internet connection.In the same report, it is also mentioned that they access the Internet from school (29.7 per cent), from friends’ homes (37.5 per cent) and from Internet cafes (30.7 per cent).Only 2.1 per cent of respondents reported accessing the Internet from a library.[Source: Firat University, Elazig; Yeditepe University, Istanbul, 2010. Study of 366 children aged 6-13 from four regions of Turkey, East Anatolia, South Anatolia, Marmara and Aegean– Source: Bünyamin Atici, UğurBati, ‘New Media and Children: Internet Content Preferences of Primary School Children in Turkey’]Why friends’ home?
What are the main online interests by the youth? In a study led by the London School of Economics using a methodology that has been called the EU Kids Online methodology, the youth of Turkey have indicated using internet to do school work as the first activity while listening to music clips and playing online games as second and third. [Source: EU KIDS 2010]
With social networking coming in the fourth place as mentioned in the previous slide, Facebook is the network of choice of all adolescents and young people in Turkey. However, here again there is a sharp divide based on gender when it comes to its use. Unsurprisingly, the age range shows a high usage by 18-24 and 25 to 34. Turkey is the 5th biggest user of Facebook in the world with 87.7% penetration among internet users.[Source: Socialbakers2011]
The gender divide is also found in online gaming which is identified as the most popular digital activity in a study conducted by the Middle East Technical University that focuses on 15 to 18 year old. [Source: computer in human behavior – middle east technical university. Study of 1 224 internet user students aged 15 – 18 in 4 cities.]
Frequency of Internet use: Sample: 9-16 age group 1018 sample Source: EUKOLFrequency of SNS use: Sample: 9-16 years old 524 children in Istanbul, Ankara, IzmirSource: Middle East Technical University + Information and Communication Technologies Authority 2011Plus: From Middle East Technical University 20119-16 age Use of Internet 524 children in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir38.4% use internet once a day, 30% use more than once a day, 22.9% use more than once a week and 8.8% use once a week.
The risks. Once the research has undergone through the extensive study of the opportunities created by ICTs, like some of the ones we talked about right now, communication, sharing, networking, accessing the news, etc. The project looks into the risks that the research has underlined.
The review of relevant literature revealed that exposure to adult content, malicious software and fraud, sharing of personal information, cyberbullying and meeting of strangers are all safety risks associated with Internet use in Turkey. The literature did not provide hard data with regards to exposure to violent and/or gruesome content, extremist content, grooming and gambling, although this is not to say that these safety issues do not exist in Turkey.
In 2010, the Internet security company AVG named Turkey the country most at risk in the world for malicious software attacks on its ‗Global Threat Index‘, noting that a user in Turkey had a 1 in 10 chance of being attacked on a given day, compared to the global average of 1 in 73." [Source: AVG]
Accepting all friend requests has been identified as a risk because of the potential that it includes to interact with complete strangers.As you can see, half of the child participants noted that they accepted friendship requests of only those people whom they knew, 33 per cent said they only accepted the requests of their friends and their friends’ friends and 15 per cent said they accepted all friendship invitations. The research also showed that boys accepted the friendship requests of strangers more often than girls, and that high school students tended to more frequently acceptrequests from all people, irrespective of whether they knew them or not, as compared to middle school students.[9-16 age sharing personal information on social networking sites 524 Kids in 3 big cities( Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir)[Source: Middle East Technical University and Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) 2010]]
When asked what they would do when they get a message from a stranger on SNS, 44.8 per cent said they never reply back, while 30.3 per cent say that they reply if the message is appropriate. It is not clear from the study what type of message is deemed appropriate by the respondents. Nine per cent of the respondents always reply back to messages from a stranger, with males more likely to reply back than females. Older respondents were also more likely to reply to strangers’ messages.[9-16 age sharing personal information on social networking sites 524 Kids in 3 big cities( Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir)Source: Middle East Technical University and Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) 2010]
According to EU Kids Online, 13 per cent of the respondents reported seeing images containing sexual content on the Internet. Of those exposed to such content, 46 per cent reported that they were uncomfortable with the images. In addition, 12 per cent of respondents aged 11-16 have received messages with sexual content, of whom 50 per cent were uncomfortable with the messages. Four per cent of respondents reported having sent sexual content messages. These figures are very low compared to Russia for example where exposure to adult content has been proved to be of at least 40% for 9-16 year old Russian youth. [Face-to-face interviews with 1018 urban and rural internet users aged 9-16Source: EUKOL]
While there is no internationally agreed definition of cyberbullying, many experts have been offering different definitions, for example the Berkman Center defines it as the "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices”.In the EU Kids Online’s study of Turkish Internet users aged 9-16, participants were prompted about cyberbullying in the following manner: “sometimes children or teenagers say or do hurtful or nasty things to someone and this can often be quite a few times on different days over a period of time, for example. This can include: teasing someone in a way this person does not like; hitting, kicking or pushing someone around; leaving someone out of things”When asked if someone had behaved in such a manner to them in the previous 12 months on the Internet, only 3 per cent reported in the affirmative, placing the youth of Turkey below EU average of 6 per cent. [EU Kids Online aged 9-16 1018 sampleSource:EUKOL ]According to survey carried out by Anadolu University of 1,470 Internet users with a median age of 23 found Fifty six per cent of all participants reported experiencing at least one form of cyberbullying. The study found that the average cyberbullying by males was higher than females. [aged 17-29 1470 sample Source:Akbulut, Yavuz, Levent, Yusuf Sahin, Eristi, Bahadir, Cyberbullying Victimization among Turkish Online Social Utility Members‘, Educational Technology & Society, 13 (4), 2010.]
The research has identified many other researches around the theme of cyberbullying, I only have time here to mention one more but the paper discusses them all in depth. This one shares interesting disaggregated data with males significantly more likely to engage in cyberbullying than females.[Source: Source: Selcuk University, 2009Sample: 695 undergraduate university students aged 18-22 from 15 different programmes at the Faculty of Education at Selçuk University]Other interesting information collected is the fact that: Females experienced significantly higher rates of victimization when they accessed the Internet at school or in Internet cafes than when they accessed the Internet at homeParticipants who used the Internet at night had higher instances of victimization than those who used it predominantly during the afternoon and eveningThose who utilized primarily foreign websites had significantly more problems than those who utilized a combination of foreign and Turkish websites or primarily Turkish websites
Now there are other aspects of the topic that the research looks into such as the government and civil society ICT-led initiatives that show steps being taken towards a universal access but also the policy adopted in Turkey opening the discussion around whether or not they guarantee the maximization of the opportunities and the minimization of the safety risks.
Youth of Turkey online
1. Data Collection Exploratory research, Quantitative and Qualitative surveys’ main focus: ■ Access and Use ■ Digital Behavior ■ Safety Risks ■ RightsDigital Citizenship & Safety
2. Campaign Mobilization Raising awareness on the optimal and safe use of Information and Communication TechnologiesDigital Citizenship & Safety
3. Policy Advocacy Advocate the concept of Digital Citizenship at government levelDigital Citizenship & Safety
Digital EnvironmentDigital Citizenship and Safety
Digital Divide Internet In 2010, usage of computer Access with & without internet Desktop Computer Portable Computer Mobile Phones ages 16-74 nationwide household ICT ownershipDigital Citizenship and Safety
Gender Participation Gap2010 usage of computer with & without internet for 16-24 years old Digital Citizenship and Safety
Frequency of Internet and Social Networking site useFrequency of Internet use Frequency of social networking site use 8% Less often 11%Once or 33% Everyday 23.7% twice a More than month once a day 43.1% Once a day 4% Less 53% Few times 24% often More than a week 1.2% once a week Once a weekDigital Citizenship and Safety
Risks online Sharing Personal Information / Child as recipient Malicious Software and Fraud / Child as recipient Exposure to Adult Content / Child as recipient Cyber-bullying / being bullied & bullying others Meeting Strangers / Child as participant Production of Child Abuse Images/Videos / Child as participantDigital Citizenship and Safety
Malicious Software and Fraud Chances of being attacked by virus and malware on InternetDigital Citizenship and Safety
Accept friendship request on SNS children aged 9-16Digital Citizenship and Safety
Reply to messages from stranger on SNS ■ Males more likely to reply back than females. ■ Older respondents more likely to reply to strangers‘ messages. children aged 9-16Digital Citizenship and Safety
Exposure to Adult ContentDigital Citizenship and Safety
Cyberbullying children aged 9-16Digital Citizenship and Safety
Cyberbullying ■ The study found that males were significantly more likely to engage in cyberbullying than femalesDigital Citizenship and Safety