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Profiles

Daniel Kardefelt Winther

Research Specialist (Digital)

Daniel Kardefelt-Winther leads UNICEF’s research programme on Children and Digital Technologies, at the Office of Research. He works at the intersection of child rights and digital technology and has several years of experience in designing, implementing and managing cross-national comparative evidence generation projects involving children and adults. In his role at UNICEF, Daniel manages the Global Kids Online and Disrupting Harm projects, generating evidence with children in more than 30 low-middle income countries. His work involves developing new research methodologies to study how digital technology impacts children’s lives, manage project implementation, conduct data analysis and support researcher training, government engagement and research uptake. He also supports UNICEF offices around the world with research expertise, training, knowledge management and capacity building initiatives, working alongside national governments and researcher partners. Daniel holds degrees in Computer Science (BSc) and Psychology (BSc) from Stockholm University, as well as in Management (MSc) and Media & Communications (PhD) from the London School of Economics. He also holds a post-doctoral research position in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute.

Publications

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Digital Learning for Every Child: Closing the Gaps for an Inclusive and Prosperous Future
Publication

Digital Learning for Every Child: Closing the Gaps for an Inclusive and Prosperous Future

Pre-Covid-19, half of the world’s children were already unable to read a simple text by the age of 10. School closures have deepened pre-existing learning disparities, within and among countries, due to inequities in access to technology. This brief summarises research findings and provides actionable recommendations for how to equitably scale up digital learning and provide children and young people with the skills to improve their prospects and safeguard their well-being. It pinpoints solutions for education systems’ use of digital and blended learning anchored in a sound pedagogical approach and urges the G20 and other countries to overcome the barriers that limit the potential benefits of digital learning.
Disrupting Harm in Thailand: หลัักฐานเกี่่ยวกัับแสวงหาประโยชน์์ทางเพศ และล่่วงละเมิิดทางเพศเด็็กทางออนไล
Publication

Disrupting Harm in Thailand: หลัักฐานเกี่่ยวกัับแสวงหาประโยชน์์ทางเพศ และล่่วงละเมิิดทางเพศเด็็กทางออนไล

Disrupting Harm in Thailand: Evidence on online child sexual exploitation and abuse
Publication

Disrupting Harm in Thailand: Evidence on online child sexual exploitation and abuse

Funded by the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, through its Safe Online initiative, ECPAT, INTERPOL, and UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti worked in partnership to design and implement Disrupting Harm – a research project on online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA). This unique partnership brings a multidisciplinary approach to a complex issue in order to see all sides of the problem. OCSEA refers to situations that involve digital or communication technologies at some point during the continuum of abuse or exploitation; it can occur fully online or through a mix of online and in-person interactions between offenders and children. The Disrupting Harm research was conducted in six Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, and seven Eastern and Southern African countries. Data were synthesised from nine different research activities to generate each national report which tells the story of the threat, and presents clear recommendations for action.

Blogs

Responding to screen time concerns: A children’s rights approach
Blog

Responding to screen time concerns: A children’s rights approach

Over the past decade there has been escalating concern that the time children spend using digital technology might be harmful. Calls have been made to protect children by restricting the amount of time they spend in front of digital screens. But recently there has been a change in tune, following research showing that the effects of screen time on children may be too small to warrant such restrictions.
Zhang Haibo is taking children’s opinions about digital technology seriously
Blog

Zhang Haibo is taking children’s opinions about digital technology seriously

This statement: “Children use digital technology for specific reasons and it is important to take their opinions and explanations seriously” ...
The internet of opportunities: what children say
Blog

The internet of opportunities: what children say

“We grew up with the internet. I mean, the internet has always been here with us. The grown-ups are like ‘Wow the internet appeared’, while it is perfectly normal for us.” –Boy, 15 years old, Serbia
Piloting a research toolkit on child internet use in rural South Africa
Blog

Piloting a research toolkit on child internet use in rural South Africa

When the scope of a research project on child internet use spans multiple countries with vast cultural, economic and social variation, navigating the differences presents formidable challenges. For the Global Kids Online network, a research initiative tackling these challenges is crucial

Journal articles

Piloting a research toolkit on child internet use in rural South Africa
Journal Article

Addressing violence against children online and offline

Piloting a research toolkit on child internet use in rural South Africa
Journal Article

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

Podcasts

Piloting a research toolkit on child internet use in rural South Africa
Podcast

The screen time debate: what do we really know about the effects of children's time online?

Piloting a research toolkit on child internet use in rural South Africa
Podcast

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