EU Science Hub

Attitudes towards cyber risks - Implicit & self-report measures. The Happy Onlife edutainment experience of secondary school children

Abstract: 
The Happy Onlife experience has contributed to children’s right to be heard in matters affecting them in their digital interactions and lives. Happy Onlife has been considered as effective awareness raising and learning tool regarding cyber security issues by its end-users, namely students, teachers, parents and educators. By playing with Happy Onlife game, children could naturally self-disclose and express their emotions, needs, understanding and sometimes worries and doubts. Indeed, self-reporting provides valuable insights for a wide range of research, policy and educational questions, however it can be susceptible to self-presentation and socially desirable responding. To overcome these limitations, implicit measures were considered to complement experimental research about children’s attitude towards cyber risks. The work described in this document aims at evaluating the effect of the Happy Onlife tool on attitudes towards cyber risk of children aged 10-12, from Time T1 to Time T2, before and after using Happy Onlife edutainment. The first research aim is to test the Happy Onlife edutainment reliability as a learning tool for enhancing digital competences with a focus on cyber security, data protection, privacy, online communication, netiquette and digital identity management. Moreover, a second purpose is the contribution to the development and validation of a new implicit measure of cyber risk propensity for children (10-12 years old). A third aim is to investigate the relationship between implicit risk attitudes and explicit risk-taking behaviour. In this pilot research all explicit and implicit measures showed adequate reliability. There was a significant effect pre and post Happy Onlife gaming experience. Current results suggest that the Cyber Security Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a reliable and valid method and may be a useful tool to be added to self-report batteries for cyber risk propensity assessment in children. The Cyber Security Implicit Association Test could be considered for future and wider research on risk-taking behaviour by citizens of all ages. The experiment protocol can be improved, however this contribution could be taken into consideration for the study and implementation of European cyber security strategies and policies to limit online threats and risks.