My name is Maja Kućar, I am a research assistant at the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar (Zagreb, Croatia), and a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. At the start of 2022, I applied for a TAV visit as part of the Coordinate project and, thankfully, got the opportunity to visit Berlin and Ipsos Institute. I, as well as some other researchers interested in this topic, got access to the EU KIDS ONLINE (EUKO) database. Many European countries are part of the EUKO research, but our database contained only the German sample.
The EUKO research is focused on children in their middle childhood and early adolescence. The goal is to examine their habits related to digital devices, Internet usage, and consuming media in general. My Ph.D. research combines developmental and cognitive psychology, more specifically, I am interested in the relationship between children’s smartphone usage and their executive functions. Furthermore, I am part of the CHILD-WELL research team at the Institute I work. We are examining various potential influences on child well-being, and digital technology is, understandably, one of them. That explains my strong interest in this field. In the EUKO database, I focused on psychological predictors of excessive internet usage. Interestingly, there is some overlap between that database and the project I originally work on, so I was able to compare some results. For example, it seems that both German and Croatian children underestimate the amount of time they spend using their digital devices, but I think it does not come as a surprise to you.
At the Ipsos Institute, which gathered EUKO data in German households, I was welcomed by dr. Robert Grimm and dr. Johannes Kaiser. Dr. Grimm kindly introduced me to his colleagues, showed me around the facility, and explained to me in more detail what Ipsos does. Dr. Kaiser has helped and advised me regarding the dataset itself. We spent a rather interesting day talking about factor analysis, mediation models, path analysis, etc. I have also gotten a chance to hear about the face-to-face data collection first-hand, from the head of the face-to-face team in Hamburg – Mr. Michael Voigt.
It goes without saying that Berlin is a city with many historical sites and cultural attractions. During the evenings and late afternoon, I gave my best to explore Berlin as much as possible. I was more than satisfied with my experience but have concluded that Berlin requires at least a month of exploring. I have no other option but to come back eventually.
I would strongly recommend this experience. If you are having dilemmas, this blog post is your sign to stop contemplating and send your application today!