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What impacts of child internet use on mental well-being, social relationships and physical activity?

A young person using an internet cafe in Madagasgar An adolescent girl uses a computer at an Internet cafe on the island of Nosy Be, off the northwest coast of Madagascar. The Internet is used by adults who seek children to sexually exploit them. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world with 91 per cent of the country’s 21 million people living on less than US $2 per day.
UNICEF’s first comprehensive look at how digital technology affects children’s lives, identifies dangers and opportunities. It argues that stakeholders have not kept up with the pace of change, exposing children to new risks and leaving millions of the most disadvantaged children behind.

Research Projects

Child rights in the digital age
Research Project Research Project

Child rights in the digital age

One in three internet users globally is a child. This proportion is likely to be even higher in the global South. Organizations working to advance children’s rights and promote well-being need to understand how to reduce the risk of harm children face online while maximizing their opportunities for learning, participation and creativity. Crucially, children’s perspectives and experiences need to be considered when drafting policies that govern the use of young people’s digital use, as well as when designing the technology itself. However, there is still insufficient evidence globally to enable policy and practice to act in children’s best interest.To bridge this evidence gap, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti coordinates and facilitates research on children’s use of digital technologies by developing research methodologies that can be implemented to generate national evidence. UNICEF Innocenti coordinates two multi-country evidence generation programmes, Global Kids Online and Disrupting Harm , which serve to generate evidence of the opportunities and risks that children from around the world may encounter in a digital age. In addition, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti engages with stakeholders  to ensure that children’s perspectives are at centre of discourse and debates around internet governance and children’s internet use. We publish research on national and international internet-related policies affecting children and support UNICEF country offices, regional offices and headquarters in carrying out high-quality research and interventions. We  actively contribute to global discussions around online gaming, excessive internet use, digital technology and mental health, online violence and technology-facilitated sexual exploitation and abuse.COVID-19 & ChildrenVisit our COVID-19 & Children website for Research Agenda, Research Publications, Blogs, Think Pieces, Online Events, Good Reads and moreShort-term projectThe importance of children's internet access during COVID-19 An analysis of new data from Global Kids Online and EU Kids Online on: children’s internet access, proportion of children accessing health information online, and extent to which they are able to verify the truth of online informationLong-term projectChildren’s use of digital technology during COVID-19Online surveys across eleven European countries will help understand: what digital engagement looks like during COVID-19; how it has changed; and what support children need to take advantage of the internet during lockdowns.