This article explores young children’s moral sensitivity regarding online disclosure. Drawing on psychological theory,
moral sensitivity is defined as the ability to express and show moral consideration in terms of empathy, role-taking and
pro-social moral reasoning. Twenty-five preadolescent children aged 9 to 11, all living in Belgium, were
asked in focus group interviews to share their reflections about and experiences with self-disclosure and privacy in internet
environments. The findings demonstrate that young children are capable of imagining the moral consequences of disclosing
personal information about oneself and about others. Their moral reflections are embedded in a more general concern of
children’s vulnerability to other, more powerful information circulators in their social networks, such as older children, siblings,
but also parents or the internet crowd. A strong sense of children’s entitlements to online privacy is articulated. Also, the
decision of disclosing personal information about the other is carefully considered when the other is emotionally important
to the children.
The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.