Youth Skills

01 January 2020 → 31 December 2024
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Human rights law
    • Information law
children children's rights digitisation digital skills well-being
Other information
Project description

ySKILLS starts from the observation that digitisation is changing society and requires a new set of digital skills, which many children and adolescents currently do not master. This can negatively affect their educational, informational and social inclusion and wellbeing. Longitudinal and robust academic research on children’s and adolescents’ digital uses, the use context and its impact is lacking on national and European levels. ySKILLS examines risks and opportunities related to children’s and adolescents’ (aged 12 to 17) ICT uses and their digital skills to understand how to purposefully use ICTs towards greater cognitive, physical, psychological and social wellbeing. We offer a critical perspective on the notion of skills itself: by extending traditional conceptions of skills, by recognising children’s critical views on their skills as young citizens with agency, voice and rights. ySKILLS will predict which children are more at risk of having low levels of wellbeing because of their ICT use, and to understand how digital skills can function as building resilience against negative impacts. This results in a comprehensive, evidence-based explanatory and foresight model predicting the complex impacts of ICT use on children’s and adolescents’ wellbeing in Europe, and the role of digital skills that can enhance their wellbeing. ySKILLS will conduct a longitudinal three-wave survey in six countries, selected based on their ranking as low, medium and high on the 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index. Adding to this survey, cognitive wellbeing will be investigated with fMRI in two countries. ICT use patterns will be analysed among at-risk groups in in-depth studies in six complementary countries. Through an effective dissemination strategy and practice and policy recommendations, framed in terms of children’s rights, the interdisciplinary ySKILLS consortium will strengthen the necessary interaction among the relevant stakeholders and practitioners involved.

Role of Ghent University
UGent is involved in WP7 (Synthesis of Results and Recommendations for Policies and Practices) and will contribute to (1) mapping the results and recommendations to relevant legal standards and legislative and regulatory bodies so as to identify practical routes to implementation and gaps to be addressed in future European regulation and policy, and (2) framing the project results, recommendations, children’s views and legal analysis in terms of the rights of the child so as to identify and evaluate the evidence underpinning key rights relevant to children’s wellbeing in the digital environment and the steps required to strengthen policy, research and practice initiatives and advocacy in realising children’s rights in the digital age.