WSIS Forum 2017 will be held from 12–16 June 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. More info.

Global Kids Online - Children's Rights in the Digital Age

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Researching Children's Rights in the Digital Age

The session will discuss how research on children’s internet use can contribute to global and national policies. Given that children comprise one third of all internet users globally, are we giving due consideration to their needs, rights and voices? Are we sufficiently concerned by disparity in access (based on gender, geography, socio-economic status) and the implications for the realisation of their rights and their wellbeing?

The Global Kids Online (GKO) research initiative led by UNICEF, London School of Economics and EU Kids Online provides an opportunity to collect robust, nationally comparable evidence on children’s internet use, opportunities and risks, taking into account the specificities of different national contexts. Initially piloted in 5 countries on 4 continents and with a rapidly expanding network of collaborators and partners across the world, GKO promotes national ownership and multi-stakeholder engagement   the 

Key issues to be discussed during the sessions will be: How do we continue to build a strong evidence base, including development of the key statistical indicators on children’s internet use in a rapidly changing digital environment? How do we use the currently available evidence to mainstream children’s issues into global and national policy and ensure that in the implementation of the SDGs no child is left behind? The session will conclude with some recommendations for the WSIS process beyond 2015 that take account of children’s rights to provision, participation and protection in a holistic and integrated manner.


Jasmina Byrne, Senior Researcher, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti

Speakers / panellists
  • Professor Sonia Livingstone, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics
  • Alexandre Barbosa, Head, Regional Centre for Studies of the Development of the Information Society (
  • Nevine Tewfik, Head of the Research, Studies and Policies Bureau, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT), Egypt
  • Esperanza Magpantay, Senior Statistician, ITU
Link to WSIS Action Lines
  • C1. The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
  • C3. Access to information and knowledge
  • C8. Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content
  • C11. International and regional cooperation

Promotion of children's rights and interests in the internet related policy, programmes for development is a responsibility of all stakeholder groups: governments, private sector, civil society, educators and parents. Internet governance processes need to take into account children's interests as a distinct group with different social economic, cultural and linguistic background and ensure policies that take account of this diversity.  International organisations and agencies such as UNICEF, ITU, UNESCO and others have an important role to play in promoting social inclusion of different groups of children. 

Link to the Sustainable Development Process
  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Access and use of the internet is an enabler of the realisation of many of the SDG goals that have a direct impact on children. The WSIS+10 document recognises the internet access as a development indicator and enabler in itself. Given huge disparities among and within countries as well as across income, gender, age and geography access to the internet and information and enhanced education opportunities will be a predictor of a developmental success including the realisation of opportunities for children for learning, gender equality, civic participation and engagement, promotion of peace, inclusion and equality.  Understanding how and for what purposes children use the internet, where are the gaps in access, skills and literacies would help us design better interventions and programmes

WSIS Forum 2016 | WSIS Action Lines: Supporting the Implementation of SDGs
2–6 May 2016, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Place des Nations, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland