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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.
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Children’s digital access – or lack thereof – during the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly determined whether children can continue their education, seek information, stay in touch with friends and family, and enjoy digital entertainment. With over 1.5 billion children across 190 countries confined to their homes, active video games or dance videos may also be their best chance to exercise. The rationale for closing digital divides has never been starker or more urgent. During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to accurate health information is particularly important, especially for children living in resource-poor communities where access to health care and services may be limited. For these and other reasons, global efforts are under way to expand and support children’s digital access and engagement, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Daniel Kardefelt Winther; Rogers Twesigye; Rostislav Zlámal; Marium Saeed; David Smahel; Mariya Stoilova; Sonia Livingstone

The internet is often celebrated for its ability to aid children’s development. But it is simultaneously criticized for reducing children’s quality of life and exposing them to unknown and unprecedented dangers. There is considerable debate about when or how children’s rights – including the rights to expression, to privacy, to information, to play and to protection from harm, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – may be realized or infringed in the digital age. With more children around the world going online every day, it is more important than ever to clarify how the internet can advance children’s opportunities in life while safeguarding them from harm or abuse. This requires evidence, from children themselves, that represents the diversity of children’s experiences at the national and global levels. By talking to children, we are better able to understand not only the barriers they face in accessing the internet, but also the opportunities they enjoy and the skills and competences they acquire by engaging in these activities. This allows us to enquire about children’s exposure to online risks and possible harms, and about the role of their parents as mediators and sources of support. In bringing children’s own voices and experiences to the centre of policy development, legislative reform and programme and service delivery, we hope the decisions made in these spheres will serve children’s best interests.


Sonia Livingstone; Daniel Kardefelt Winther; Marium Saeed


Responding to screen time concerns: A children’s rights approach (17 Apr 2019)

Over the past decade there has been escalating concern that the time children spend using digital technology might be harmful. Calls have be ...

Zhang Haibo is taking children’s opinions about digital technology seriously (01 Feb 2018)

This statement: “Children use digital technology for specific reasons and it is important to take their opinions and explanations ...


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

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


Global Kids Online

The Global Kids Online project and network was established in 2015 to support evidence generation on children’s online experiences at the national l ...