Do you remember the first time you went online?
Chances are you knew life before the internet. But for children growing up online, life is unimaginable without it.
Digital technology has transformed the world we live in – disrupting entire industries and changing the social landscape. Childhood is no exception. One in three internet users worldwide is a child, and young people are now the most connected of all age groups. From photos posted online to medical records stored in the cloud, many children have a digital footprint before they can even walk or talk. Digital technology can be a game changer for disadvantaged children, offering them new opportunities to learn, socialize and make their voices heard – or it can be yet another dividing line. Millions of children are left out of an increasingly connected world.
And the online gender gap is growing: Globally there are 12 per cent more men than women online, and the gap is greatest in low-income countries. And as digital technology rapidly evolves, so can the risks children face online – from cyberbullying to misuse of their private information to online sexual abuse and exploitation. For better and for worse, digital technology is an irreversible fact of our lives. How we minimize the risks while maximizing access to the benefits will help shape the lives and futures of a new generation of digital natives.
UNICEF set out to uncover how the internet and digital technology are helping and hindering children’s learning, well-being and social relationships. Explore these stories and learn about the urgent need to make the internet safer for children while increasing access to digital technology for every child, especially the most disadvantaged.
To read the full UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2017 report click here