National Report Netherlands

PATCH-WORLd – PArents and CHildren Working, ORganising and Learning together 135285-LLP-1-2007-1-IT-KA3-KA3MP Grant Agreement 2007- 3620/001-001 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

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General Background of the Survey Setting In The Netherlands the survey concerning the use of computers in families was carried out with a group of children of a school in Linne and their parents. Linne is a fairly small village in the southern half of the province of Limburg and this province is the most southern part of the country. The name of the school is De Triangel, it has a catholic signature, which is most common in the southern parts of the country. Information concerning the school (in Dutch) can be found at: www.triangel-linne.nl. The initial contact with the school was kindly established by Mrs. Smith-Voerman of Euneos, who not only lives in this community, she also contributes regularly to the extra activities that the school deploys. Her daughter and grandchild participated in the interviews, for which Mr. Fer Heuts, teacher at the school and our regular contact there, made the arrangements. With a number of inhabitants of just over 3700 in 2006, Linne is a typical rural community. However, in The Neherlands this makes hardly a difference with regard to the regular in house facilities, like the availability of ADSL. Another relevant characteristic in this survey of Dutch family life is the fact that PC's are present in almost every household and that internet access is available in over 95% of family homes and that more than 65% of these homes have a broadband connection. Concerning the penetration of PC's and the internet in daily life, there is hardly a difference between rural communities and towns. But the availability of outdoor playing facilities is highly different in towns and rural environments. Most or all of the children stated that in the end they preferred playing (outside) with their friends, which is very well possible in a community like Linne. When such facilities are lacking, as is the case in some of the major cities in our country, the choice of children to spend most of their leisure time with games on their PC (and watching TV) is at least understandable, given the lack of outdoor alternatives. Therefore it is not certain that the same results would be obtained when carrying out interviews with children in a town like Maastricht. We may decide to include such a
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group of youngsters and their parents in a second phase of our survey. Procedure The procedure was quite straightforward: during a meeting with Mr. Fer Heuts, dates were selected for the interviews. These dates were communicated to the children and their parents with an invitation to participate. Nine duo's or trio's of a parent and one or two pupils enlisted. The interviews were held in a small office within the school during two subsequent mornings. All interviews were recorded and without exception the children and parents gave permission to use the recordings of the interviews within the framework of the Patchworld project. The interviews were conducted by Joost Thissen of Reflexion, assisted by Mr. Dave Janssen who took care of the recordings. Mrs. Smith-Voerman was present to support the process if needed. The children and their parents were interviewed together, which may have influenced the answers given, although the impression of the interview team was that this may have happened in one of the interviews, but most certainly not in the others. The interviews have been summarized in the tables below, following closely the structure as agreed in the first partnership meeting. As a standard we asked the pupil to describe the PC setting at home, from there the conversation would develop quite naturally.

Summary of results

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General

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Netherlands: sociological background GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY A typical Dutch family is a small nucleus, consisting of (1 or 2) parents and 2 children on average (2.3 children to be statistically precise). Grandparents generally do not live in the same house and their level of PC and internet skills is generally
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Netherlands: sociological background dramatically lower than that of their children and grandchildren. They succeed better in preserving their traditional lifestyle (positively stated), or they are not involved in new developments as a direct result of their isolation (negatively stated). Differences between urban areas and the countryside do hardly affect the penetration of IT-applications and internet in Dutch households. Most parents and older children are familiar with ways to retrieve information over the internet and with simple transactions like shopping, second hand auctions and banking. Apart from making life easier these developments seem to have no decisive effect on the way the family operates: after school or work they have some time for themselves (sports, homework, meeting friends, after that they (still) eat at six pm, then they may go their own way again for a while and return to the living room to spend time together and/or say good night. Seen from this perspective, the PC and the internet seem to have little impact. There is a general division between parents and children when it comes to using PC's and internet. Few parents play PC or online games meant for children; few children are involved in what their parents may do (banking, shopping). Each operates in a separate world, which of course brings along some risks. Unlike in the USA the discussion on the dangers of

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Netherlands: sociological background the internet is limited of scope. We don´t really mind when our sons look up pictures of naked people: they are bound to see at least a few in the course of their lives anyway and they may have seen their family members undressed in the bathroom at home. Viewing explicit sex is a different matter but still not prominent in discussion. When it comes to child porn, child abuse, animal abuse, dealing drugs or weapons, praising violence, invitations to join terrorist groups and other nasty business, everybody in the Netherlands will agree that sites promoting such activities should be banned and the initiators persecuted. But this is considered by most people to be a public or collective responsibility and in first instance the responsibility of internet providers and the government. The first should block malicious websites and the government should take legal action against any violators of the law, including those who operate on the internet. Individual protective action at family level against threats that we are exposed to over the internet, is in most cases limited to installing anti-virus and antispam software and on top of that perhaps a firewall to protect the wireless network at home against intruders. Wifi's are rapidly gaining ground. FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT The basic ways of family life are not immediately influenced by the availability of an internet connection at home. It is the relation to the outside world that is changing: instead of going to a library information will be available in seconds when a
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Netherlands: sociological background search engine or Wikipedia is addressed. By the way: also IT experts do no longer rely on their equipment handbooks and software installation guides:when a problem occurs, the main characteristics (the error messages themselves) are “googled” or sent to dedicated platforms and a solution may be found within seconds, simply because “some other experts came across the same problem before and they all are eager to show off with their knowledge or just willing to help others. ICT GAMES AND RECREATION ICT games, especially the online games in which players may form cooperative teams, have a certain element of attraction. But the children we spoke with showed a clear preference for playing in traditional ways, i.e. with live people instead of in a virtual community. There is of course a select and distinctive group that is playing games on the internet all the time, loosing track of their environment as they go on. Frankly, this is to be considered as a new kind of addiction, no less serious than any other addiction. Protecting children against such addictions is based on the same kind of parental vigilance as protecting them from any other potential bad influence, like alcohol, drugs, gambling or even excessive use of a mobile phone. After the early days computer games seem to have lost some of their attractive power on adults, even though the quality of graphics and general functionality and complexity was improved. But for

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Netherlands: sociological background children and youngsters the attractiveness of games has only become stronger. In the meantime their parents have shifted their focus from Super Mario and tennis to sorting out the best destination for their next holiday or weekend, finding a well recommended restaurant, news from the cinemas in town and so on. Apart from being an access point to leisure activities, the PC with internet access has become the home administration platform and perhaps it's use for internet banking and similar services has more impact on society than the games: banks are closing offices as less customers make use of them, leaving the elderly to find the door of their familiar offices closed. Town halls and other authorities introduce digital desks at high speed now; many customer services only operate by mail contact or at best a call centre: these changes make a real difference to those who were used and still dependent on the old services. Less educated people, but also immigrants and the elderly are left behind. One cheerful point should also be mentioned: in general our E-Society with it's digital services as far better accessible to young people with a disability than the traditional services. A potential danger is that disabled people won't leave their house anymore, as they can enter external services easier from home than by physically going there. The emergence of the E-society has found a natural partner in developments like e-learning and e-work.
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Netherlands: sociological background Online games are just a small and perhaps not so important part of that process. EDUCATION THROUGH ICT Since the early days of school TV and even more after the first distant learning applications were introduced, there has been a constantly increasing awareness of the importance of new technologies for education, like computer based learning and internet based learning. Nowadays schools in the Netherlands are equipped with at least a standard set of PC's with broadband internet access, allowing all pupils to engage in elearning activities during a substantial part of their learning time. Moreover, schools count on the fact that their pupils will have equivalent facilities available at home as they indeed have in most cases. Learning has partly moved to a new platform, enabling pupils to communicate and cooperate, while bridging geographical borders and discovering the importance of a common language for this purpose. And that language again can be learned on the PC ... ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY There is a general awareness in the Netherlands that children need protection and support, but not to exclude all that may hurt their eyes or ears. In the end Dutch society will promote educational approaches of both parents and teachers that will enable children to handle external influence in a sensible and balanced way. Exceptional catastrophes like the killing of school children by their class mates will not easily overthrow that general approach, certainly as long as it is not clear what caused the
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Netherlands: sociological background actors to act in the way they did. In such a case protective measures will focus on the ease with which weapons can be obtained by anyone, rather than pointing at a rather abstract and potential source like violence on TV and the internet, although there are pressure groups doing the latter. Structured protection procedures are recommended by the government, among others in TV-spots, but not every parent thinks that these are useful. Often the home wireless network is protected against viruses and use by the “neighbours”. Children's locks blocking certain websites are recommended as well, but they seems not widespread and this little survey confirms that. Recommendations like having no camera connected to the PC and placing the children's PC (when it has internet access) in the living room, may be followed by many. But in general the need of such protections is not felt as highly urgent. PC and internet safety is certainly an issue on TV, in magazines and newspapers, but calls for action are generally not felt as alarming, except when a real nasty event features the news. Just like most people start wondering why the dikes and dams were not high enough, only after the water is flooding the country. And maybe this is a typical Dutch attitude.

Additional remarks:

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Summarized interviews

1st Interview: girl plus father

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The family consists of four persons: mother, dad, the girl of 11 years old and a younger brother. There are four PC's, linked in a network and a Nintendo. Dad is the network controller and happily boasts knowledge at full professional level.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

For the father the PC replaces to some extent the TV, but not the newspaper. Internet is considered most useful when specific information is required. It seems that dad and daughter are the main users of PC equipment. The girl is allowed to spent time on the PC within “reasonable” limits. Dad is involved with IT on a (semi)-professional basis. It is not clear if the mother also makes use of the PC; the Nintendo is primarily the domain of the younger brother.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

PC and internet games or leisure applications that the girl likes to use are (Habbo Hotel) and MSN. Apart from this she engages in water scouting, street dance and other external activities. She prefers playing with friends over playing PC games all the time.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

The girl uses the PC quite a lot for school; primarily to write papers. Writing papers is a recurring task at this stage, for which information is retrieved from Wikipedia and a few other sources (accessed through
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RESPONSE given by children and parents search engines). A type course was ordered via school and completed by the girl who is capable now of blind typing. The PC is more used for education than games.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

Structured protection procedures are implemented. The home network is heavily protected against viruses and suspicious websites by various safety features. They are installed and controlled by the father. The girl is aware of their function, but she does not know how they operate. She was never confronted with unwanted or unpleasant content. By deliberate decision there´s no camera connected to the PC. ICT/internet safety is an issue in family discussions.

Additional remarks: for the father the interview clearly had another function than for the interviewers (or for the girl): he was primarily interested in presenting his views on software and the Microsoft monopoly in this field, supported by displaying his high level of subject relevant knowledge. He seemed surprised that the interview was not dedicated to these aspects.

2nd Interview: girl plus mother

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The family consists of four persons: mother, dad, the girl of 11 years old and a younger brother at the age of 8. There is one desktop PC, a laptop and a gameboy.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND

Mom uses the PC to find information, but also to carry out small business and household related tasks,
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AREA RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

RESPONSE given by children and parents like internet banking. Internet is considered useful for finding specific information. All family members make some use of the PC equipment.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

The girl uses various games and leisure applications like MSN. Apart from this she engages in external activities. She prefers playing with friends over playing PC games all the time.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

The girl uses the PC quite a lot for school; primarily to write papers. Writing papers is a recurring task. For information search she does not use Wikipedia, but other sources like search engines. She has completed a type course. The PC is more used for education than games.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

No structured protection procedures are implemented. The incoming mail is filtered by dad before passing messages on to the children. The equipment may be protected against viruses, if so this is installed by the father. ICT/internet safety is an issue in family discussions. The children have been warned about the existence of websites with malicious content. The e-mail address is not too lightly given to others. The PC is by deliberate choice situated in the living room, where parents can supervise.

Additional remarks:

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3d Interview: boy plus mother

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The family consists of four persons: mother, dad, the boy of 11 years old and a younger brother at the age of 8. There are three PC´s, the boy´s PC has internet access.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

Mom is an experienced PC user; she has built her own webshop for second hand clothes. She uses the PC for any suitable purpose: to find information, private business, work and leisure (e-mail, Hyves and MSN) . Dad uses the PC primarily for games and music. All family members make use of the PC equipment.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

The boy uses various games and leisure applications like Hyves and above all else MSN. Furthermore he plays games (motor cross, soccer. Apart from this he engages in sport activities, especially soccer, of which he is a great fan. He clearly prefers playing (soccer) with friends over playing PC games all the time.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

The boy uses the PC a lot for school; primarily to write papers. Writing papers is a recurring task, which is done in Word. For information search he relies on search engines. The school clearly relies on the availability of a PC with internet access at their pupil´s homes: they simply need it for their homework. The PC is more used for education than games.
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AREA ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

RESPONSE given by children and parents Structured protection procedures are implemented by the mother, like anti-virus software, anti-spyware and a child lock for internet websites. MSN chat sessions are stored for monitoring the content. ICT/internet safety is not a regular issue in family discussions: the protection measures should make sure that no malicious content is viewed by the children.

Additional remarks:

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4th Interview: boy and girl plus mother

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The family consists of four persons: mother, dad, the boy of 11 years old and his sister of 11. They both answer the questions. There are three PC´s, both children have their own laptop with internet access.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

Mom does not use the PC very much, only for searching second hand markets and to find holiday destinations. Dad is a software engineer; he has taken care of all necessary security measures and mom does not know any details. All family members make use of the PC equipment.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

The boy plays various games and has made his own website about “Domino Day” (his own version of that event, which he also carries out with friends in real life). Apart from this he engages in sport activities, especially gymnastics. The girl is fond of sheep, she also made her own website about the subject. Apart from that she is involved in rescue swimming. Both kids are no PC or internet addicts: they like real life playing better than the internet.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

Both children use the PC a lot for school; primarily to write papers. They writing their papers for school in Word. For information search they use both Wikipedia

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RESPONSE given by children and parents and search engines, but the girl will start with looking in books first. The PC is more used for education than games.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

Structured protection procedures are implemented by the father and mother does not know what exactly is done for protection, probably anti-virus software, anti-spyware and perhaps a child lock for internet websites. ICT/internet safety is not a regular issue in family discussions: the protection measures should make sure that no malicious content is viewed by the children.

Additional remarks:

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5th Interview: boy plus mother

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The family consists of three persons: mother, the boy of 11 years old and a younger sister. There are two PC´s in the house; one with internet access, situated in the living room and the other without internet access with games on CD-ROM.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

Mom uses the PC quite a lot for work: she makes the work planning schemes for her department in the hospital.,Furthermore she uses the PC/internet for home business (internet banking), but also to chat (MSN) and to find information concerning leisure activities. All family members use the PC's.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

The boy plays various games and has made his own website, about “Domino Day” (!), in which he also cooperates with friends. He is a regular user of Funny Games, but he also uses a Nintendo for other games. But he likes real life playing better than the internet.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

He uses the PC a lot for school; primarily to write papers (in Word). They writing their papers for school in Word. For information search they use both Wikipedia and search engines, but the girl will start with looking in books first. The PC is more used for education than games.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

Structured protection procedures are implemented by the father and mother does not know what exactly is done for protection, probably anti-virus software, anti-spyware and perhaps a child lock for internet
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RESPONSE given by children and parents websites. ICT/internet safety is not a regular issue in family discussions: the protection measures should make sure that no malicious content is viewed by the children.

Additional remarks:

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6th Interview: boy plus father

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The family consists of four persons: father, mother, the boy of 11 years old and a younger brother of 9. There are 3 PC´s in the house (laptops); one with internet access, situated in the living room, meant for the boys. The other laptops are for business use.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

Dad uses the PC quite a lot for work: he runs his own company and works often or most of the time at home. Furthermore he uses the PC/internet for all home business activities: internet banking, taxes, insurances, shopping and information retrieval. All family members use the PC's.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

The boy plays various games, among others Habbo Hotel, he chats with friends using MSN. Apart form that he enjoys Jazz Ballet and before that he was playing handball. He now also plays the hobo and/or klarinet He likes real life playing better than PC's or the internet.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

He uses the PC also for school, to write papers (in Word). For information search he uses both Wikipedia and search engines. The PC is equally used for education and games.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

No structured protection procedures are implemented and is done by deliberate choice: both father and mother are convinced that children need to become self directing in this field. Their protection should be based on their own awareness of what is
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RESPONSE given by children and parents acceptable and what not. Therefore in this family ICT/internet safety is a regular issue in family discussions: awareness of the children should enable them to make deliberate choices, whatever they may be. At the same time the father is a little bit worried about the time spent by his son on the PC/Internet ...

Additional remarks:

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7th Interview: boy plus father

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The family consists of four persons: father, mother, the boy of 11 years old and a younger brother of 8. There are 3 PC´s in the house (2 laptops); one with internet access is meant for the boys. The laptops are for business use by dad who is a operations controller for a large IT company.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

Dad uses the PC quite a lot for work. Furthermore he uses the PC/internet for literally everything: administration, internet banking, taxes, insurances, shopping and information retrieval. The PC replaces the newspaper (news sites), but not yet the TV. All family members use the PC's.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

The boy plays various games, among others Soccer Manager and what he finds on Funny Games. He hardly uses MSN. Apart form that he plays soccer as a regular sport activity. He likes real life playing better than PC's or the internet.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

He uses the PC also for school, to write papers (in Word). For information search he uses both Wikipedia and search engines. Father will now and then give him hints about useful websites and information sources. The PC is equally used for education and games.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

No structured protection procedures are implemented. It isn however not clear if this reflects an explicit conviction that children should develop
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RESPONSE given by children and parents their proper sense of responsibility or that the standard protection measures taken by providers are sufficient in the parent´s view.

Additional remarks: the father foresees a continuing growth of the information society and fears that this may result in an impersonal community.

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8th Interview: boy plus mother

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The core family consists of two persons: the boy of 11 years old and his mother. Mothers' friend is not with them every day. There is 1 PC with internet access in the house, used by all.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

Mom uses the PC for e-mail, Hyves and other leisure activities. She has little knowledge of computers and the boy knows already more about that than she does. The boy plays various games, especially realistic simulations, like Flight simulator, Orbit, Zoo Tycoon and others. He uses mail a lot and he has his own address at Hotmail. Through mail he maintains contacts with former holiday comrades. Besides that he takes part in forums related to the games he plays (like for Zoo Tycoon). Apart from that he plays hockey as a regular sport activity, training two times a week and playing a match in the weekend. He likes real life playing just as much as PC's or the internet.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

He uses the PC also for school, to write papers (in Word). For information search he uses both Wikipedia and search engines. The PC is more used for games than for education.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

No structured protection procedures are implemented at all, except for a virus-scanner. Mother refers to the regular talks she has with the
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RESPONSE given by children and parents boy about unsafe behaviour on the internet, but in fact she relies on his sense of responsibility. She suggests also that maybe she should do more about this, but she lacks the necessary knowledge.

Additional remarks:

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9th Interview: girl plus mother

AREA GENERAL USE OF ICT IN THE FAMILY

RESPONSE given by children and parents The core family consists of four persons: the mother, the girl of 11 years old, her older sister of 14 and a younger brother of 8. Mothers' new friend is not living with them. There are 2 PC´s in the house, one with internet access is placed in the living room and is used by all. The other PC is in the girls room but has no internet and is not used very much.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH ICT

Mom uses the PC quite intensively for her work; besides that she surfs on the internet to find all sorts of information. The children use the PC for leisure activities and for school. Sometimes there is a queue of those who want to use it.

ICT GAMES AND RECREATION

The girl plays some games, but likes to listen to music on YouTube. She uses MSN for chats with her friends, but no mail programme. Apart from that she plays volleyball as a regular sport activity, but not intensively. she likes real life playing better than PC's or the internet.

EDUCATION THROUGH ICT

She uses the PC for school, especially to write her papers (in Word). For information search he uses both Wikipedia and search engines. She completed a typing course to be more efficient in writing. The PC is more used for games than for education.

ICT RELATED SAFETY AND SECURITY

No specific protection procedures are implemented, only standard tools like virus-scanner. Mother is very cautious about privacy issues related to the use of
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RESPONSE given by children and parents internet and the requests for personal data that appear on so many web pages, even when they seem irrelevant for then user. Unsafe behaviour on the internet is a recurring issue in family discussions and these talks will help to prevent the kids from going to sites with doubtful content. The fact that the PC with internet access is placed in the living room is another element of child protection.

Additional remarks: the mother fears that developments on the internet may lead to loss of privacy. She is keen on this aspect and she was the only parent having a little doubt about providing the interview recording to the project partners. After being reassured about preservation of their privacy she agreed to the use of the recordings within the project.

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