How informed children are

UNICEF/HQ94-0944/ ROGER LEMOYNE
These girls participate in a children's radio programme in the besieged city of Sarajevo, FR Yugoslavia.

More than half of the children polled say they have a lot or at least some information about children's rights, sexual relationships, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse prevention and particularly about computers, while nearly half say they have very little or no information on these topics, except computers. The highest share of children claiming to have almost no information on any of the five topics is found in the Caucasus.

About half the children claim to have some (42%) or a lot (12%) of information about their rights, with girls, urban dwellers and those from better-off families being more knowledgeable. The three most often named rights are education (61%), not to be hurt/mistreated (34%) and to play (32%), but 22% (rising to 25% in the Western Europe) cannot name any of their rights.

Approximately 4 in 10 children in Western Europe and 6 in 10 in transition countries feel they have very little or no information about sexual relationships. A significant number of children in transition countries (53%) and Western Europe (40%) say they have very little or no information about HIV/AIDS. Younger children (65%) versus older children (27%), boys, rural children and children from lower socio-economic groups are less knowledgeable.

UNICEF/HQ94-0909/ ROGER LEMOYNE
A girl rehearses her part of a children's radio show in the city of Mostar, FR Yugoslavia.

Thirteen per cent of those who claim to have some or very little information about HIV/AIDS say they do not know what needs to be done to avoid infection and many children are unclear about the ways HIV is transmitted.

More than half the children polled in Western Europe (60%) and half (50%) in transition countries claim to be informed about drug abuse prevention, with the majority saying they only have limited information on the subject. But many in the Caucasus (83%), Central Asia (64%) and South-eastern Europe (60%) say they have little or no information about preventing drug abuse. Older children (70%) are much better informed than younger children (40%), as are urban children and those from better-off families.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• How much do I know about?…(by knowledge level) [view]
• How much do I know about children's rights?…(by detailed regions) [view]
• How much do I know about children's rights?
(by gender, age, area, EU accession or socio-economic group)
• What children's rights can I name?…(by region) [view]

• How much do I know about HIV/AIDS?…(by detailed region) [view]
• How much do I know about HIV/AIDS?
(by gender, age, area, EU accession or socio-economic group)

• How much do I know about drug abuse prevention?…(by detailed region) [view]
• How much do I know about drug abuse prevention?
(by gender, age, area, EU accession or socio-economic group)

This information is provided as a contribution to discussion on important issues affecting children. UNICEF Regional offices conducted the polls, analysis and interpretations of the findings. For more information, please contact the regional poll contact person directly.

About the survey
How happy children are
How children feel at home
How children feel at school
How children feel in today's society
How safe children feel
Children and harmful or illegal substances
How informed children are
Children's views on government and politics
How children see the future