Digital learning brings opportunities for children but also introduces risks that need to be managed effectively.
Children are spending more time online than ever before. And they’re getting there sooner. Around the world, a child goes online for the first time every half second.
Growing up online offers limitless opportunities. Through computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and televisions, children learn, imagine and develop their social networks. When used in the right way – and accessible to all – the internet has the potential to broaden horizons and ignite creativity the world over.
But with these opportunities come serious risks. Cyberbullying and other forms of peer-to-peer violence can affect young people each time they log in to social media or instant messaging platforms. When browsing the internet, children may be exposed to hate speech and violent content – including messages that incite self-harm and even suicide.
UNICEF works to make the internet a safe place for children to learn, socialize and express themselves. We partner with governments to advocate for necessary regulation, and with tech companies to promote the use of acceptable safety measures on their platforms. We also support ministries of education to teach children digital-literacy and online-safety skills.
Online safety and data protection
UNICEF's new policy brief and accompanying technical note are intended to assist governments in ensuring that the introduction and use of digital learning tools in schools promote equal and accessible education for all children and ensure the protection of children from the risks that the technology may introduce or amplify. While the primary audience is ministries and departments of education and ministries of children or equivalent, these documents may also be useful for other public and private providers of educational and extra-curricula services and activities for children.
AskMe: Your online safety friend
"AskMe! Your online safety friend", is a web-based mobile application for children who are between 13 and 18 years old. This web app will act as a virtual friend, providing useful information and resources on key online safety issues in the format of interactive stories and conversations. The goal is to provide you with a better understanding of your rights online and to strengthen your skills to navigate online spaces safely.
AskMe was developed by ITU, in collaboration with UNICEF, who provided extensive technical input on content, technology and recommendations, and CyberTrust, who provided technical input on technology.