Home News Youth Perspectives on Online Safety in France and Germany

Youth Perspectives on Online Safety in France and Germany

0 comment

In an exciting expansion of Thorn’s research initiatives beyond the U.S., we are proud to share insights from our first international quantitative studies focusing on youth experiences with digital safety, including online sexual encounters and other risks, in France and Germany.

As Thorn works to educate globally around our issue space, understanding the online behaviors and attitudes of young people in Europe is especially important. Ongoing political debates in Europe about online safety are lacking data on youth perspective. That’s why surveying youth not only in the United States but across the globe is an important step toward better understanding youth behaviors online and the associated risks they encounter there.

While youth in France and Germany face similar threats to one another and to children in the U.S., the experiences of these young people are unique across different regions, as evidenced by this new research.

Understanding the Reality of Online Interactions

Our studies, which surveyed minors aged 12-16 in both France and Germany, have uncovered insights about their online interactions. According to the research, a significant number of minors report experiences of grooming and cold solicitation requests for nude imagery – a stark revelation about the digital landscape many youth navigate daily.

Germany’s Youth Face Distressing Realities Online

The research shows that in Germany, the prevalence of grooming and cold solicitations from strangers is a distressing and prevalent reality for young people.

Among the German youth surveyed, 46% reported that they believe online grooming is a common experience for kids, and 1 in 4 (28%) reported they had personally experienced someone approaching them online with the intention to befriend and manipulate them.

Among those who say they’ve been contacted online by someone they’ve never previously interacted with, 41% said they’ve experienced a cold solicitation request for nude imagery, with 18% reporting they receive such unprompted requests at least monthly.

To compound this concerning issue, the data shows minors are generally reluctant to report problematic users. This is true both after they’ve been made to feel uncomfortable and after actual online sexual interactions. Among minors who have felt uncomfortable while messaging with an online-only contact, 1 in 5 remained in communication with the problematic user and fewer than 1 in 10 reported the user to the platform.

Among German minors who’ve had an online sexual interaction, like being asked for nude imagery or being asked to “go on cam,” only 1 in 3 responded by reporting the other user to the platform. Among those who chose not to report the sexual interaction to the platform, they cited embarrassment and a belief that they didn’t think the platform would do anything.

This clearly illustrates the need for actions like enhanced detection algorithms and more accessible reporting mechanisms, which are critical to deter predatory behavior and ensure a safer online environment for youth.

Young People in France Also Face Threats

Online grooming is a recognized concern among French youth, with 43% reporting that they believe online grooming is a common experience for kids, and 1 in 6 (18%) reporting they had personally experienced someone approaching them online with the intention to befriend and manipulate them.

The data shows French minors are generally reluctant to report problematic users and instead are more inclined to block the user in response to online sexual interactions.

While 75% used a blocking feature after an online sexual experience, only 20% indicated that they reported the user to the platform, and only 14% indicated that they confided to someone offline.

A similar sentiment was found in recent research Thorn conducted among U.S. youth, showing that children aren’t turning to offline support systems—like having conversations with parents and other trusted adults—even though they can play a critical role in protecting kids from harm.

Given the different functions of blocking tools and reporting tools the comparative rates of minors using blocking as a response compared to reporting has important implications for the development of effective online interventions, especially those aimed at the prevention of harms.

These Challenges Require a Unified Response

According to the research, while the experiences of youth in these different regions and the U.S. are unique, many of the threats young people face online are the same, underscoring the global nature of threats to children online and the universal need for robust protection mechanisms.

Read the full reports to learn more about the online experiences of youth in Germany and France.

You may also like


Latest Articles


Subscribe to get the latest news from ExcellenceCEO.

Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

© 2024 ExcellenceCeo. All Rights Reserved.