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Researching Children’s Rights Globally in the Digital Age

Challenge 4: Multi-stakeholder engagement and research funding

Despite a broad consensus that empirical research is needed to understand the risks and opportunities associated with children's technology use, funding remains scarce. This panel addresses some particular practical challenges of coordinating multi-stakeholder groups and securing research funding. Panelists agree that competing priorities is the key obstacle to scarcity of funding. While funders and governments admit that these issues are important, funding remains nearly non-existent, especially for baseline quantitative studies, in-depth smaller studies, longitudinal work or cross-national comparison.

Chair: Monica Bulger, Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet Society, Harvard University, USA


- Eija Hietavuo
- Natasha Jackson
- Yves Boillot

1) Click play on the Soundcloud window to start an audio recording of each presentation
2) Advance PPT slides manually in the SlideShare window

Eija Hietavuo
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager, UNICEF CSR Sector: Multi-stakeholder engagement and research funding.

Eija Hietavuo emphasises the importance of empirical evidence in child rights discussions. She outlines human rights impacts in the ICT sector, which include labour, environment, access, product safety, and data privacy, security and freedom of expression. Hietavuo explains that since businesses, governments and NGOs all want the same information in order to be a responsible business, to guide government policy, and to support all national stakeholders, it makes far more sense to collaborate than for each group to attempt to collect its own data.

Natasha Jackson
Head of Content Policy, Group Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), UK

Natasha Jackson describes the GSMA's recent collaboration with the Mobile Society Research Institute as it surveyed over 20,000 children and their parents in 13 countries about their mobile phone use, most recently in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Algeria. GSMA's large evidence base is attractive to policymakers, especially in countries where children's internet use is gaining policy attention. Jackson outlines a number of challenges to multi-stakeholder engagement, including different reasons for participating across regions, priority on cross-national comparative data, long lead times for research and more.

Yves Boillot
Strategic Marketing Manager, Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility, Orange, France: The internet industry and the value of evidence

Yves Boillot asserts that since children are a growing sector of mobile phone users, mobile operators have a responsibility to provide a better internet experience. He suggests that multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential for child rights-focused research. While a key priority is to improve visibility for children's issues and experiences, stakeholders' key concerns are access, cost and reliability for business. Orange sustains active stakeholder dialogue around issues of children's use in all the countries in which it operates, and has conducted research in the global North.


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