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Daniel Kardefelt Winther

Consultant

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Daniel Kardefelt-Winther supports Innocenti's research efforts on children’s internet use, online safety and child rights. He coordinates the Global Kids Online project, a multi-country research project that provides methodological tools for global research on the risks and opportunities of children’s internet use. Daniel is a quantitative researcher with many years of experience in designing and coordinating multi-national research projects, including survey development and data analysis. He has a special interest in cognitive, behavioral and health outcomes that follow from excessive use of digital technology. Daniel holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and a post-doctoral research position in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute.
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PUBLICATIONS

Based on an evidence-focused literature review, the first part of this paper examines existing knowledge on how the time children spend using digital technology impacts their well-being across three dimensions; mental/psychological, social and physical. The evidence reviewed here is largely inconclusive with respect to impact on children’s physical activity, but indicates that digital technology seems to be beneficial for children’s social relationships. In terms of impact on children’s mental well-being, the most robust studies suggest that the relationship is U-shaped, where no use and excessive use can have a small negative impact on mental well-being, while moderate use can have a small positive impact. In the second part of the paper, the hypothetical idea of addiction to technology is introduced and scrutinized. This is followed by an overview of the hypothetical idea that digital technology might re-wire or hijack children’s brains; an assumption that is challenged by recent neuroscience evidence. In conclusion, considerable methodological limitations exist across the spectrum of research on the impact of digital technology on child well-being, including the majority of the studies on time use reviewed here, and those studies concerned with clinical or brain impacts. This prompts reconsideration of how research in this area is conducted. Finally, recommendations for strengthening research practices are offered.

LANGUAGES:
The international community has recognized the importance of internet access for development, economic growth and the realization of civil rights and is actively seeking ways to ensure universal internet access to all segments of society. Children should be an important part of this process, not only because they represent a substantial percentage of internet users but also because they play an important part in shaping the internet.

AUTHOR(S)

Jasmina Byrne; Daniel Kardefelt Winther; Sonia Livingstone; Mariya Stoilova
LANGUAGES:

PROJECTS

Child rights in the digital age

Facilitating cross-national research in the global South on children’s digital experiences.