Project: Der Fake News Kommissar geht um – Ein interaktiver Ansatz zur Stärkung der digitalen Media Literacy an Wiener Schulen

PI: Anne Reinhardt (PI) • Claudia Wilhelm (Co-PI)
Duration: 2022-2024
Funding organization: City of Vienna
Collaboration: Sophie Mayen, B.A. MSc

How can young people be "immunized" against fake news on the internet? Learning how to critically evaluate internet sources and content is an important prerequisite. Thus, the research project is developing and testing two media literacy interventions aimed at sustainably increasing the digital literacy of young people. Both interventions will be integrated into the context of school. Using text-based information material as well as a serious game, students will learn to separate fake news from facts on the basis of various characteristics. A key feature is the planned web game: The participants will be trained as "fake news inspectors" by taking over the role as an undercover troublemaker on Telegram in order to learn the five most important strategies for recognizing fake news "from the inside". A follow-up workshop will see the students discuss the limits and opportunities of this game with their teachers. With this approach, the projects aims to contribute to digital literacy of Viennese students and provide new insights into the effects of passive as well as active inoculations strategies in young target groups.

Project: Time allocation, media selection, and displacement effects

PI: Claudia Wilhelm
Duration: September 2021 – August 2024
Funding organization: Austrian Science Fund (Project P 34431)
Collaboration: Sophie Mayen, B.A. MScDr. Anne Reinhardt, B.A. M.A.

In children and adolescents' digitized lifeworlds, the boundaries between learning and leisure time are increasingly dissolving. Under these conditions, there is a risk that time spent with media will be at the expense of time spent on school activities. The increasing temporal dissolution of boundaries in media use poses a challenge to the self-discipline and self-control of children and young people to regulate the extent of media use. This research project investigates the time and media use of children and adolescents aged ten to 17 years. The aim is to find out to what extent different forms of media use (e.g., Internet, television, computer games, smartphones, newspapers, and books) and other media activities (e.g., chatting and the use of social media) compete or complement each other in the daily routine and whether these media activities lead to less time being spent on non-media leisure activities and school tasks. The project also aims to find out to what extent media use and the use of time have changed over different media generations: Did earlier generations of children and young people, for example in the time before smartphones and the Internet, have more leisure time and to what extent did they spend it with or without media? In a further step, the research project examines the effects of media use on school performance. Is an increase in media use (e.g., television, Internet, computer games) associated with a decrease in school performance and on which factors (e.g., personality, age, type of education, media generation) does this depend?

To answer the research questions and to test the assumptions, children and adolescents aged 10 to 17 years are asked to fill out a questionnaire and a diary. In the diary, the participants indicate what they did when, how long and with whom during the day and which media they used. The questionnaire includes information on gender, age, type of school, parents' education, personality and school performance. For the comparison between different generations of media, existing data on time use from the German Federal Statistical Office and data on school ability from the German National Education Panel will be analyzed.

Project: Hate speech, gender, social networks and political parties (GENHA)

PI: Claudia Wilhelm
Duration: February 2020 – January 2022
Funding organization: European Union's Rights Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020)
Collaboration: Mag. Andreas Schulz, B.A. B.A. MA (University of Vienna)


 The general objective of GENHA is to identify and analyze how hate speech against the 'ideology of gender' has been appropriated by extreme right political parties in Europe using social networks and the Internet. It also aims to propose which type of legal and public policies the Member States and the European Union can implement to protect the human rights at stake.

The project will:

  • Map where, when and how the extreme right political parties use hate speech against gender theories through social networks in the participating countries;
  • Analyze the content of this hate speech against gender theories and its political use and justification;
  • Identify the national and European legal frameworks to address this type of hate speech
  • Identify and analyze the European and national case law dealing with these cases
  • Identify and study possible self-regulations and norms of the social networks where these hate speeches take place;
  • And propose legal interventions and public policies to address this type of hate speech.