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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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Contextualising the link between adolescents’ use of digital technology and their mental health: a multi‐country study of time spent online and life satisfaction

Daniel Kardefelt Winther, Gwyther Rees, Sonia Livingstone

Published: 2020

Evidence on whether the amount of time children spend online affects their mental health is mixed. There may be both benefits and risks. Yet, almost all published research on this topic is from high‐income countries. This paper presents new findings across four countries of varying wealth.

We analyse data gathered through the Global Kids Online project from nationally representative samples of Internet‐using children aged 9 to 17 years in Bulgaria (n  = 1,000), Chile (n  = 1,000), Ghana (n  = 2,060) and the Philippines (n  = 1,873). Data was gathered on Internet usage on week and weekend days. Measures of absolute (comparable across countries) and relative (compared to other children within countries) time use were constructed. Mental health was measured by Cantril’s ladder (life satisfaction). The analysis also considers the relative explanatory power on variations in mental health of children’s relationships with family and friends. Analysis controlled for age, gender and family socioeconomic status.

In Bulgaria and Chile, higher‐frequency Internet use is weakly associated with lower life satisfaction. In Ghana and the Philippines, no such pattern was observed. There was no evidence that the relationship between frequency of Internet use and life satisfaction differed by gender. In all four countries, the quality of children’s close relationships showed a much stronger relationship with their life satisfaction than did time spent on the Internet.

Time spent on the Internet does not appear to be strongly linked to children’s life satisfaction, and results from one country should not be assumed to transfer to another. Improving the quality of children’s close relationships offers a more fruitful area for intervention than restricting their time online. Future research could consider a wider range of countries and links between the nature, rather than quantity, of Internet usage and mental health.

The Role of Productive Activities in the Lives of Adolescents: Photovoice Evidence from Malawi

Susannah Zietz, Jacobus de Hoop, Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2018
Adolescence is an important transitional period, separate from both childhood and adulthood. Critical physical and mental development occurs during adolescence, including emotional skills, physical, and mental abilities. Behaviors adopted during this lifecourse period have critical implications for adolescents' future health and well-being. The main research question of the present study is: what is the role of productive activities in the lives and development of adolescents in rural Malawi? As part of this study, selected adolescents from poor rural households were asked to take photographs of their daily (productive) activities. These photographs served as a starting point for focus group discussions. In addition to including adolescents, we conducted qualitative interviews with caregivers and teachers to triangulate and obtain a more holistic understanding of adolescent engagement in productive activities. The main themes that emerged were that 1) the work that is conducted by adolescent boys and girls inside and outside the household is not only perceived by adolescents as a product of poverty, but as a point of pride, as well as a potential means of providing for one's future, 2) there is a tension between the needs of the family and schooling, and 3) adolescent productive activities are associated with minor although not negligible hazards and injuries. We discuss that these qualitative findings help to better understand how social protection interventions, such as Malawi's Social Cash Transfer Program, may affect adolescent engagement in work and adolescent wellbeing more generally.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 246-255 | Tags: child labour, child well-being
Multidimensional Child Deprivation and Poverty Measurement: Case Study of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yekaterina Chzhen, Lucia Ferrone

Published: 2017
This study applies UNICEF’s rights-based multiple overlapping deprivation analysis framework to a single country case study—Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Using data from the Extended Living Standards Measurement Survey 2011 for children aged 5–15, the paper analyses the incidence and intensity of multidimensional child deprivation and examines its relationship to household-based monetary poverty, drawing on differences between rural and urban areas. Seven dimensions of deprivation have been identified using the child rights framework: Nutrition, Clothing, Educational Resources, Leisure, Social Participation, Information and Housing. We find that the majority of school-age children in BiH are deprived in one or more dimensions and one in four are deprived in three or more dimensions out of seven. Children in consumption poor households are more likely to be deprived in every dimension analysed separately and in a greater number of dimensions at once. Nevertheless, the degree of overlap between poverty and multidimensional deprivation is moderate, suggesting that child deprivation cannot be eradicated solely by increasing households’ consumption capacity. Finally, the study finds no significant differences by type of area in multidimensional deprivation rates for consumption-poor children aged 5–15. In contrast, non-poor children in rural areas are substantially more likely to be deprived in three or more dimensions at once than their counterparts in urban areas. Overall, these results call for a multifaceted policy approach targeting both the demand for and supply of children’s goods and services.
Women’s economic capacity and children’s human capital accumulation

Jacobus de Hoop, Patrick Premand, Furio Rosati, Renos Vakis

Published: 2017
Programs that increase the economic capacity of poor women can have cascading effects on children’s participation in school and work that are theoretically undetermined. We present a simple model to describe the possible channels through which these programs may affect children’s activities. Based on a cluster-randomized trial, we examine how a program providing capital and training to women in poor rural communities in Nicaragua affected children. Children in beneficiary households are more likely to attend school 1 year after the end of the intervention. An increase in women’s influence on household decisions appears to contribute to the program’s beneficial effect on school attendance.
The Social and Economic Impacts of Zambia's Child Grant Program

Sudhanshu Handa, D. Seidenfeld, B. David, G. Tembo, Zambia Evaluation Cash Transfer Team

Published: 2016

Accumulated evidence from dozens of cash transfer (CT) programs across the world suggests that there are few interventions that can match the range of impacts and cost-effectiveness of a small, predictable monetary transfer to poor families in developing countries. However, individual published impact assessments typically focus on only one program and one outcome. This article presents two-year impacts of the Zambian Government's Child Grant, an unconditional CT to families with children under age 5, across a wide range of domains including consumption, productive activity, and women and children's outcomes, making this one of the first studies to assess both protective and productive impacts of a national unconditional CT program. We show strong impacts on consumption, food security, savings, and productive activity. However, impacts in areas such as child nutritional status and schooling depend on initial conditions of the household, suggesting that cash alone is not enough to solve all constraints faced by these poor, rural households. Nevertheless, the apparent transformative effects of this program suggest that unconditional transfers in very poor settings can contribute to both protection and development outcomes.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 357-387 | Tags: cash transfers, child well-being
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