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Researching Children’s Rights Globally in the Digital Age

Challenge 5: Implementing evidence-based policy internationally: practice, politics, ethics

It is important not to be naïve or empiricist about the uses of research in diverse societies around the world. Research can be conducted for one purpose and used for quite another. In relation to child protection especially, evidence may be used to legitimise government censorship or other punitive policies (e.g., against all pornography use, including accidental exposure among children). In relation to children's participation, initiatives may pay lip service to their voices but little may result in reality. Then, evidence may simply be ignored by international policymakers given the many political and economic interests at stake - often leaving children's concerns in the margins.

Chair: Lely Djuhari, Communication Specialist, UNICEF CEE/CIS Regional Office


- Robin Mansell
- Nevine Tewfik
- John Carr

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

Robin Mansell
Professor, Media and Communications, LSE, UK: Challenges of global internet governance

Robin shares some practical insights into the implementation of evidence-based policy. She observes that in the research community, projects are often monitored by budget or funder, rather than by a desire for social change. Mansell questions participants about what values inform their search for evidence. What should data do? She suggests that implementation often comes down to resource allocations, and policymakers must make choices about impacts, priorities and what is feasible. She emphasizes the importance of listening, to make long-term plans, and to ground the child protection agenda in the needs of stakeholders.

Nevine Tewfik
Head of the Research, Studies and Policies Bureau, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT), Egypt: Child online protection experience in Egypt

Nevine Tewfik analyses how stakeholders differ in regarding the child as a victim, as an independent actor, as a means, or even as a criminal. Because of varying interests, stakeholders use evidence for their particular purposes. These differing perspectives raise interesting challenges when considering a multi-stakeholder environment. Tewfik describes efforts to create a national committee for online child safety to steer discussion of the child as an independent actor, and recommends further exploration of stakeholders' perspectives on children and childhood.

John Carr
Expert Advisor, ECPAT International, UK: ‘Why policymakers need evidence’

John Carr describes international research agenda as a focus on research for a purpose, with a primary concern to influence policy outcomes around child commercial sex trafficking. Evidence is necessary to influence policymaking and industry interventions. To illustrate the policy potential of low-cost research, Carr sited police estimates that over 50,000 people in the UK download child abuse images, but fewer than 2,000 were arrested. Carr illustrates how simple but highly specific research can uncover important numbers for policymakers and the public.


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