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Global Researchers on Child Internet Use Gather at Innocenti

Global Researchers on Child Internet Use Gather at Innocenti

(28 May 2019) In high- and middle-income countries, and increasingly also in low-income countries, many children’s activities are underpinned by internet and mobile phone access in one way or another. Across truly diverse domestic, cultural and geographic contexts, many children now use digital and online technologies as part of their everyday lives.

Members of Global Kids Online (GKO), an international research project supporting rigourous cross-national evidence generation on children’s internet use, gathered at UNICEF Innocenti this week. The partnership will review evidence from 11 countries on children’s digital access, use, skills and risks in preparation for the latest Global Kids Online research report to be published in late 2019.

“Among many other things, members of the GKO research network will review progress on our next substantive report, now in the final stages of analytical work,” said Daniel Kardefelt-Winther, lead researcher on child internet use at UNICEF Innocenti. “We will discuss the latest findings and gather feedback on how best to shape the major recommendations of the report.” Country reports from Albania, Ghana, New Zealand, the Philippines and Uruguay will be presented.

The network will also discuss what is needed to expand and strengthen global data-gathering activities on children’s internet use; how to leverage evidence for research uptake and policy impact; and will hear about latest progress of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child ‘General Comment on Child Rights in the Digital Environment.’

A key new development to be discussed is the upcoming implementation of GKO surveys in 14 countries in Africa and South East Asia under the new ‘Disrupting Harm’ project, funded by the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and carried out jointly by UNICEF Innocenti, ECPAT International and INTERPOL. The Disrupting Harm project aims to better understand the risks of violence and sexual exploitation that children face online.

“This meeting is also an important opportunity for GKO partners to share experiences, learn from each other and help form new partnerships,” said Kardefelt-Winther. “Bringing experts and practitioners from around the world together has always been a key objective of our network”

Research Projects

Digital Engagement and Protection
Research Project

Digital Engagement and Protection

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.


Global Kids Online Research Synthesis, 2015-2016

Global Kids Online Research Synthesis, 2015-2016

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.


The Screen Time Debate: What Do We Really Know About the Effects of Children’s Time Online?


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Global Researchers on Child Internet Use Gather at Innocenti