Funded by the European Commission, CyGen aims to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by children when they go online. We aim to map these opportunities and challenges and, with children, to design educational resources to support children’s safety online. The project is unique in that children will help the project team to develop and evaluate an evidence-based digital educational programme to promote young peoples’ online citizenship and safety across the four participating European countries (UK, Denmark, Belgium and Greece) and beyond. The project is funded for three years (Sep 2016- Sep 2019).


Project objectives

CyGen brings together young people, teachers, parents and academics to tell us what they think about online safety for children. We are using evidence (research done by others, and research done by our own team) to help young people across Europe stay safe online. To do this we are using child-centered methods and participatory design-methodology.


CyGen will:


Map the country-specific and EU-wide challenges and opportunities facing children and young people in diverse European member states on their safe, healthy use of the Internet;

Create a culturally, linguistically and age appropriate open-access multimedia education programme which recognizes and draws on children and young people’s assets, knowledge and experiences to support their healthy use of the Internet;

Develop open-access culturally and linguistically appropriate guidance and training to enable teachers to use the multimedia programme with children in primary and secondary schools in diverse European education settings;

Work with young people, their parents and teachers to co-design and evaluate the multimedia programme within a range of school environments to ensure a user-centred, evidence -based system which supports children and young people’s online safety;

Develop and disseminate a model of child-centred participatory design which can be used by teachers and academics in schools and other settings to support children’s involvement, voice and perspectives in design processes for educational and community based digital projects.


Project methods

The project is underpinned by innovative participatory research and design methodology. Our research uses child-centred and child-focused methods (lego and drawing are two examples) to help children to tell us what they think in interesting ways. Our team believe that children are experts in their own lives, and it is their views that are most important when we think about how they use digital media, how they manage online risks and what they do when they meet a challenge.