Youth Skills (ySKILLS)

About the project

Youth Skills (acronym: ySKILLS) starts from the observation that digitization is changing society and requires a new set of digital skills, which many children and adolescents currently do not master. This can negatively affect their educational, informational, and social inclusion and wellbeing. Longitudinal and robust academic research on children’s and adolescents’ digital uses, the use context, and its impact is lacking on national and European levels.

ySKILLS examines risks and opportunities related to children’s and adolescents’ (aged 12 to 17) ICT uses and their digital skills to understand how to purposefully use ICTs towards greater cognitive, physical, psychological, and social wellbeing. We offer a critical perspective on the notion of skills itself: by extending traditional conceptions of skills, by recognizing children’s critical views on their skills as young citizens with agency, voice, and rights. ySKILLS will predict which children are more at risk of having low well-being because of their ICT use and understand how digital skills can function as building resilience against negative impacts. This results in a comprehensive, evidence-based explanatory and foresight model predicting the complex impacts of ICT use on children’s and adolescents’ wellbeing in Europe and the role of digital skills that can enhance their wellbeing.

ySKILLS will conduct a longitudinal three-wave survey in six countries, selected based on their ranking as low, medium, and high on the 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index. Adding to this survey, cognitive wellbeing will be investigated with fMRI in two countries. ICT use patterns will be analyzed among at-risk groups in in-depth studies in six complementary countries. Through an effective dissemination strategy and practice and policy recommendations, framed in terms of children’s rights, the interdisciplinary ySKILLS consortium will strengthen the necessary interaction among the relevant stakeholders and practitioners involved.

Our involvement

IRTIS team will lead WP2: Integration of Theories and Methods: Towards a New Theoretical Model. The main objectives of this work package are

  • To identify the evidence as well as the gaps regarding the mediating role played by multiple dimensions of digital skills in children’s and adolescents’ wellbeing.
  • To understand the associations among the social and psychological antecedents of digital skills and consequences for children’s and adolescents’ wellbeing.
  • To aim for methodological integration throughout the ySKILLS project by elaborating and coordinating the various research methods and designs used in all WPs.
  • To aim for theoretical integration with a focus on the development of the comprehensive theoretical model that will optimize synergies and complementarity among the various disciplines and all of the WPs.

IRTIS team will also participate in WP4: Longitudinal Quantitative Data Collection, specifically in the 3-wave survey in six countries. The main objectives of this work package are:

  • To develop a robust longitudinal survey to measure the impact of ICTs on children and adolescents by applying a set of different methods for testing different dimensions of ICT uses and digital skills.
  • To validate the survey instrument through cognitive interviews and performance tests with a subsample of children and adolescents in six countries.
  • To develop a performance test instrument for digital skills that educational institutions can use. The tests will be conducted among a subsample of children and adolescents from the longitudinal survey in six countries after the second wave.


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under Grant Agreement no. 870612. This website reflects only the authors’ views and the European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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