Towards a child-centred digital equality framework
Adapting for the future by adopting a more holistic approach — shifting from digital inclusion to digital equity
The digitization of society does not have a universal effect on all children. Even with the same internet access, digital literacy and content, children from different places and backgrounds can still have unequal experiences and outcomes. A child’s individual environment influences the extent to which they can seize digital opportunities and avoid digital risks. Unaddressed injustices and inequities based on sexism, racism, classism and other forms of discrimination, contribute to this, and technological advances reflect and amplify existing social, cultural and economic inequalities.
In order to get the most out of digital technology, underlying inequalities in the lives of children need to be addressed.
This report presents a future-ready, child-centred digital framework that incorporates all aspects of digital inclusion, addresses known gaps, explicitly aims to achieve digital equality, involves a broader range of stakeholders to do this, and responds to emerging technologies and trends.
The framework can be used in several different ways:
- as a basis for designing and evaluating digital inclusion policies, whether they cover inclusion broadly or are policies more specific to, for example, improving access or digital learning,
- to help gauge how holistic a policy is and how it includes (or not) relevant stakeholders needed for achieving digital equality for children, and
- as a tool to assist drafting policies and interventions by government policymakers, international organizations and the private sector.
As the digital landscape is dynamic, the framework is intended to be a living and adaptable document that can be updated according to shifting technologies and social and economic realities.
The framework is released as a precursor to a forthcoming report in which it is being used to review selected digital policies from around the world. That report will contain promising practices from suggestions made here, and policy recommendations for UNICEF, governments and industry to achieve greater digital equality.