IGF 2023 Town Hall #94 Towards digital equality for every child

Issue(s)

Affordable Access
Digital, Media, and Information Literacy
Gender Digital Divide
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Panel - 60 Min

Description

The digitization of society does not have an equal effect on every child. In 2022, three-quarters of the world's youth (15-to-24-year-olds) were online; in Least Developed Countries the figure was less than half (48%). Children and youth’s online experiences can be influenced by gender, race, cultural and social norms, socioeconomic status and disability. In 54 countries and territories recently analysed by UNICEF, mostly representing low- and lower-middle income economies, only eight have achieved gender parity in internet use among youth aged 15-24. Overall, disadvantaged and vulnerable children are less likely to benefit from opportunities and be able to avoid the risks that come with digitization due to underlying inequalities in their lives.

Do current policies that attempt to increase digital inclusion adequately focus on children and inequalities in their lives? Using UNICEF’s child-centred digital equality framework, a review (forthcoming) carried out in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science examined 126 selected digital inclusion policies of regional bodies and those from 17 countries around the world.

The analysis found that, overall, digital inclusion policies don't mention children explicitly (except in the context of education), don’t sufficiently address their inequalities and aren't future oriented as they don't pay enough attention to the potential positive and negative impacts of some frontier technologies. We did find, however, a number of promising practices in different regional and national policies, which, taken together, can inspire future action. UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Office is conducting high-level analysis around digital inclusion of children in select countries in the region, with key findings to also guide policy change.

Using the reviews as a lens, the panellists will share ways to increase children’s digital equality around the world, and what works and what doesn’t in policy approaches. The goal is to highlight ways to make policies child-centred, focused on equality (not only inclusion) and future-ready. Achieving this is especially important as children and youth are the largest online cohort and the creators and citizens of our future digital world.

We are well prepared for facilitating hybrid events, ensuring equal participation from both onsite and offsite speakers and participants. We will have a mix of speakers, and allow questions from both those in the room and those online. We will use polls for audience participation, e.g. those provided by the event platform or like https://www.menti.com.

Organizers

UNICEF
Steven Vosloo, UNICEF, UN / Governments, Africa. (Please not there is an issue with my IGF account connected to my UNICEF email address - so I am using my personal one for this submission)

Ellen Helsper, London School of Economics and Political Science, Academic Community, Eastern and Western European countries

Onsite Moderator: Fabio Senne, CETIC - Regional Center for the Development of Information Society, Brazil
Online Moderator: Jacqueline Foelster, UNICEF

Rapporteur: Jacqueline Foelster, UNICEF

Speakers

Alexandre Barbosa, CETIC - Regional Center for the Development of Information Society, Brazil, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean, Onsite

Ellen Helsper, London School of Economics and Political Science, Academic Community, Eastern and Western European countries, Onsite

Steven Vosloo, UNICEF, UN / Governments, Africa, Onsite

Sonia Jorge, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership (GDIP), Civil Society, North America, Onsite / online

Anupma Sud, UNICEF, UN / Governments, Asia-Pacific, Online

Onsite Moderator

Fabio Senne, CETIC - Regional Center for the Development of Information Society, Brazil

Online Moderator

Jacqueline Foelster, UNICEF

Rapporteur

Jacqueline Foelster, UNICEF

SDGs

1. No Poverty
4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Targets: Digitization is an enabler for many of children's rights. Digital inclusion and equality are cross-cutting issues that impact directly and indirectly the following SDGs: 1, 4, 9, 10, 16