International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Security for Children in the digital World (SIKID)

The project SIKID, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, is dedicated to current issues of civil security for children in the digital world. It primarily focuses on the growing security threats caused by interaction risks. The project aims to improve media regulation and to create and foster a network of central stakeholders in the field in order to strengthen children and their rights online.



September 2021 – August 2024

The Project

The internet, originally invented for communication between adults, is now equally used by children. One-third of the world's internet users are under the age of 18. The societal group of children is, at the same time, amongst the most vulnerable groups in society. Young people are exposed to increased security risks through growing, premature, and often unsupervised digital use. Children today not only consume media but also create content and interact in games, chats, and social media themselves. They do this without having acquired the needed ability to safely assess the consequences of their actions online. This ultimately creates a bundle of new risky situations that need to be anchored in civil security beyond media education and youth media protection. Due to the ubiquity of digital media in children's lives, but also stemming from the difficulty of regulating them in a global context, the dangers in the digital world are very different from those in road traffic, for example. The sustainable protection of children in a constantly renewing digital field of action is therefore amongst the urgent tasks of a future-oriented democratic security in the context of digitalization.

The project aims to fundamentally improve the safety and security of children and young people in online communication. In particular, questions of regulation, prevention, and resilience are examined from a security and media ethics perspective, as well as from a children’s-rights, legal and psychological perspective. To better understand how threatening scenarios arise from everyday online situations that are commonly perceived as safe, children and young people themselves are included in the research. Based on a participatory approach, children´s perspectives, needs, and suggestions for more security in online communication are taken into account. The project offers analyses on different stages of child development and the associated forms of vulnerabilities and threats, but also competencies for digital interactions. SIKID provides recommendations to optimise existing regulatory approaches, network regulatory actors, and to reorganise the security architecture in a new and more efficient way.

SIKID aims to develop security requirements based on a children’s-rights approach. To this end, concepts for digital civil courage will be developed together with children and young people, and low-threshold safety tools will be designed. In addition, a research ethics concept with an exemplary character for empirical security research will be developed for the participation of children in security research. Options for action for legislators and technical solutions will be formulated and good practice models for security authorities and stakeholders from practice such as media, educational, and care institutions as well as parents, children, and young people will be designed and communicated to different stakeholder groups as well as the general public.


Informations follow