The Global Kids Online team and partners from Argentina, Serbia, South Africa and the Philippines spent the last 18 months developing and testing a multi-method research toolkit. Researchers in Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Ghana, and Montenegro also joined in to conduct primary research asking children about their experiences on the internet and the contexts and consequence of internet use.

gko-groupshot-3881Working collaboratively, we aimed to understand when and how use of the internet contribute positively to children’s lives – providing opportunities to benefit in diverse ways that contribute to their well-being, as well as when and how use of the internet is problematic in children’s lives – amplifying the risk of harm that undermines their well-being if they are unprotected.

The efforts of Global Kids Online over the past one and a half years focused on:

  • The expansion of the research evidence from middle- and low-income countries where children are now gaining internet access. Country findings are now available from Argentina, Serbia, South Africa and the Philippines which are summarised in a comparative research synthesis. As Global Kids Online keeps growing and new countries join the research network, more findings emerge, including the latest research evidence from Brazil , Bulgaria, and Montenegro.
  • Supporting the production of a robust evidence base on children’s online access and opportunities, risks and rights. Global Kids Online developed an open-access multi-method research toolkit, in collaboration with the country partners, experts, and international advisors. The research toolkit is now freely available to researchers and research-users worldwide under the Attributive Non-Commercial Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC) at: globalkidsonline.net/tools. It consists of: a modular survey and a range of quantitative research tools; qualitative research protocols and tools; a series of expert method guides on key issues related to researching children’s online risks and opportunities; and guidance on adapting the toolkit to diverse environments.
  • Supporting the development of effective policy and child rights solutions: Global Kids Online has been attracting considerable interest from states, private sector, and NGOs, and the country research projects will work towards informing national policy and practice through evidence. Using the research findings, we have had many opportunities to highlight important challenges to policy which are related to: capturing children’s diversity and particularly responding to the needs of vulnerable children; having a good understanding of the relationships between online and offline activity and how it may amplify risk; creating policies that consider opportunities alongside risks and doing this as part of the overall efforts to improve children’s well-being and ensuring the full range of their rights in the digital age.
  • The launch of the toolkit at the end of last year contributed to the dialogue on how robust research can enable better policies on children’s safe and positive use of the internet.

Moving forward in 2017, UNICEF Office of Research and LSE will be developing an impact assessment matrix for the Global Kids Online toolkit together with our country partners, which will be useful at the country level to track and assess the impact of the research. We will also be developing knowledge exchange resources for future partners, such as templates for creating child-friendly resources. This work will be facilitated by our third Global Kids Online network meeting hosted by the LSE in London in June 2017.

Additionally, the work of Global Kids Online in 2017 will involve new national-level projects in Ghana and the Philippines conducted by UNICEF country offices, kicking off with data collection in early 2017.

Key highlights from the work of Global Kids Online are presented in our research updates:

Further resources:

Global Kids Online research toolkit

Research findings

How to Join Global Kids Online

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