In English

Nätkulturer means net cultures, which is exactly what I write about here. My name is Elza Dunkels, I am a researcher and teacher educator at Umeå University, in the very north of Sweden. I have a background as a teacher in mathematics, geography and social science. After working in schools for 10 years, I started working in the Teacher Education, teaching interactive media and learning. In 2007 I earned my PhD defending my thesis on young people’s net cultures – Bridging the Distance – Children’s Strategies on the Internet.

My research is not only a source of income; it is also a way of life and, to be honest, my only hobby. I study young people’s internet cultures and adult’s attitudes towards these things. I am an expert on young people’s online safety, but I  also study gender, children’s rights, net based learning models and informal learning. I pride myself in being a children’s rights activist and I think of my research, and my position in Academia as means of giving young people a voice.

Ever since we had our first child, in 1985, our family has been priority number one for me and my husband. This kind of attitude would normally stop a woman from having a career in Academia but I was smarter than that. When I started my University career, I was the only female teacher at our department. I had the lowest salary of all, and my habit of leaving work early every second day to pick up my children did nothing to improve this (the Swedish way is to share parental leave and the responsibility for home and family equally between the parents). Because decisions seemed to be made when I had already left work I never got the chance to teach the interesting courses and thereby move forward in my career. But then I became interested in young people’s net cultures and I tried to find research about this, to use in our courses. This was in the late 1990’s and I couldn’t find anything useful. So I turned to my children and their friends, asking them about the internet and their thoughts on safety and learning. Together we created a website (the embryo of this website, in fact) which was used as course literature in our teacher education. This lead to me getting funded for doctoral studies and in 2007 I earned my PhD defending my thesis on young people’s net cultures. Today, I have a blossoming academic career, not in spite of having many children, but thanks to it. So, in your face, sexism!

Blog posts in English


Internet addiction or problematic use?

Publications in English

Dunkels, Elza (2014) Online Safety for Children. Media Development, WACC.

Marklund, Leif & Dunkels, Elza (2016) Digital play as a means to develop children’s literacy and power in the Swedish preschoolEarly Years, 36:3, 289-304.

Hällgren, Camilla, Dunkels, Elza & Frånberg, Gun-Marie, (Eds.) (2015) Invisible Boy: The making of contemporary masculinities. Umeå, Umeå University.

Dunkels, Elza, Frånberg, Gun-Marie & Hällgren, Camilla (Red.) (2012) Invisible Girl. Umeå universitet.

Dunkels, Elza, Frånberg, Gun-Marie & Hällgren, Camilla (Red.) (2011) Interactive Media Use and Youth: Learning, Knowledge Exchange and Behavior. Hershey: IGI Global. Mitt kapitel: Youth and Contemporary Learning.

Dunkels, Elza, Frånberg, Gun-Marie & Hällgren, Camilla (Red.) (2011) Youth Culture and Net Culture: Online Social Practices. Hershey: IGI Global. Mitt kapitel: Young People and Online Risk.

Dunkels, Elza (2007) Bridging the distance: children’s strategies on the internet. Doctoral thesis. Umeå University.

Dunkels, Elza (2010) The Kids Are Alright – perspectives on children’s online safety. I Carlsson, Ulla (Red.)Children and Youth in the Digital Media Culture. From a Nordic Horizon. Göteborg, Nordicom.


Lüders, Marika, Bae Brandtzæg, Petter & Dunkels, Elza (2009) Risky Contacts. I Livingstone, Sonia & Haddon, Leslie (Red.) Kids Online. London, Policy Press.

Wold, Thomas, Aristodemou, Elena, Laouris, Yiannis & Dunkels, Elza (2009) Inappropriate Content. I Livingstone, Sonia & Haddon, Leslie (Red.) Kids Online. London, Policy Press.

Dunkels, Elza, & Enochsson, AnnBritt (2007) One to one interviews with young people using online chat. I M. Quigley (Red.), Encyclopedia of information ethics and security. Hershey: Idea Group Reference.

Dunkels, Elza (2005) Young people’s net cultures. I C. Howard (Red.), Encyclopaedia of distance learning (Vol. 4, pp. 2067-2074). Hershey: Idea Group Reference.

Dunkels, Elza (2010) A Critical Perspective on Online Safety Measures. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 01/2010, 72-85.

Dunkels, Elza (2009) När kan vi tala om nätmobbning? Locus, 2009(2).

Dunkels, Elza, Gun-Marie Frånberg and Camilla Hällgren (2008) Young People and Contemporary Digital Arenas: Identity, Learning and Abusive Practices. Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning, 2008(3/4).

Dunkels, Elza (2008) Children’s Strategies on the Internet. Critical Studies in Education, 49(2).

Dunkels, Elza (2006) The digital native as a student – implications for teacher education. Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning(1/2006), 43-56.

Publications list.

If you want to e-mail me: elza.dunkels @

One thought on “In English”

  1. Dear Elza,

    a Swedish colleauge (Diana Pettersson Svenneke from Skarpnäcks Folkhögskola) referred me to your website and looking at it I´m thinking of you as an “Youth-Internet-Soulmate”. We (a EU partnership) are currently working on a a competence framwork for youth work in the age of social media and smartphones. The main idea is the “upgrade” youth work education and training so that it relates better to 21st century youth. If this is intersting for you you may check out or website and have alook at our work (inprogress).
    Best wishes,
    Lutz SIemer

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