On Monday, UNICEF released a new 215-page report on ‘Children in a Digital World‘, and their Executive Director seemed to echo the title of my book Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst, although you’ll note that I’ve, as always, sought to seek the benefits first, whilst acknowledging and seeking to manage the risks:

“For better and for worse, digital technology is now an irreversible fact of our lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “In a digital world, our dual challenge is how to mitigate the harms while maximizing the benefits of the internet for every child.”

The key messages from the report, taken from pages 1-3, are here:

Digital technology has already changed the world – and as more and more children go online around the world, it is increasingly changing childhood.

Connectivity can be a game changer for some of the world’s most marginalized children, helping them fulfil their potential and break intergenerational cycles of poverty.

But digital access is becoming the new dividing line, as millions of the children who could most benefit from digital technology are missing out.

Digital technology can also make children more susceptible to harm both online and off. Already vulnerable children may be at greater risk of harm, including loss of privacy.

The potential impact of ICTs on children’s health and happiness is a matter of growing public concern – and an area that is ripe for further research and data.

The private sector – especially in the technology and telecommunication industries – has a special responsibility and a unique ability to shape the impact of digital technology on children.

Download the full report.

 

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