>> MODERATOR: Fantastic. Thank you, Larry. Yeah yeah yeah.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Good morning, everyone. It's a great pleasure to welcome you all to this panel and see such a big number of you who have come to see us and hear what we have to share with you. And today we're here to share the results of the work that the UNICEF office of research in Innocenti has done in collaboration with the UNICEF country offices and headquarters in New York and many national partners. We are based in Florence.
My panel here today is professor Livingston. She is an author, and I'm sure you all know Sonja. Currently she's the co‑lead of the Global Kids Online initiative. And next to me, I have my colleague from Brazil in charge of several projects with socio‑economic implications of ICTs including research on education and online risks and opportunity for children. And to my left is my colleague, Mario, who is from institute of internet society in Brazil and currently a senior fellow. Mario is a lawyer and an expert in data protection and privacy.
Before I give the floor over, I want to explain that we will have three presentations today, and then we will open the floor up for comments and discussions. I want to say before I give the floor over to professor Sonja Livingston, this this work builds on years of research. What you see on the screen are some of the examples of evidence that has been generated over the past few years. This is a result of a growing recognition by policymakers that robust evidence is needed. This is critical to inform public debate related to internet governance. There are many positive examples where this is already happening, and in the past few years, we have seen a concerted action by international actors and organizations that are working to help the realization of children's rights through the development of policies and programs. We have seen the growth of international movements such as We Protect Global Alliance.
Bearing all of this in mind, we set forth to build knowledge around the world. We wanted to create a global network who can meet together and exchange opinions and learn from each other. We wanted to understand children's experiences, not only online but also in the contextual diversity and their real lives, how they underpin internet use, opportunities, and risk. And we hope that this work, as I mentioned, will contribute to policymaking and to practitioners who strengthen the programs that are aimed at realization of children's rights in the digital age.
So, we started off with four countries as pilot countries. Our network is growing very fast and we will be sharing from the four countries initially. We have colleagues from Brazil who will tell us about the results of kids online Brazil. Chile is also undergoing a national survey. Bulgaria, and up to 10 countries and more when the EU countries join next year. This is a growing initiative, and we hope in today and in the next few days you can come and talk to us about this program of research and to see how you would like to be involved as well. We have also provided some of the publications that are here in the front, and I also have some copies of our report.
Without much further ado, I give the floor to professor Sonia Livingstone.
>> SONIA LIVINGSTONE: Thank you so much and thank you for coming to hear about our work. It's important that we begin with research questions, and even research questions are a point of contestation and debate in this field. It was very important to us that we simultaneously ask questions about opportunities and about risks, so that we keep together on the same page, as it were, the different parts of children's experience and our work in Global Kids Online really tries to keep the whole child in mind and take a holistic perspective on the way that children are engaging with the internet in different ways and different parts of the world, but increasingly, in most parts of the world.
Rather than seeing the internet as something that comes from on high and has inevitable effects, our question is what are the effects depending on the context of use and recognizing the diversity in the context of use. And we wanted to keep this together in our minds and in the research that we do so that the evidence doesn't result in an overly unrestrictive or anxious response on the part of policymakers as we have sometimes seen in some parts of the world. From the evidence that I'm about to show you, there really is a need for better protections for children around the world in relation to their internet use, but we don't want that to be so restrictive that they also miss out on the opportunity. So we want to show the benefits and also consider the harms. To that end, we are working with the notion of children's well being, the rights of the children under the U.N. convention, many of which are being reconfigured or repositioned in digital environments.
Global Kids Online has really been as Jasmina said, an idea in the making, and in the past year, we have had the funding to do a significant piece of work allowing us to do pilot research, developing methodology and piloting it on different countries on different continents. We're trying to work as iteratively as we can with different partners. We revise the tools and try to regain in a new context, and then revise the tools further. At the end of my presentation, I'll show you where they are on our website. One key purpose of coming here today is to invite more countries to join this initiative so that we can spread the effort of understanding the opportunities and risks for children in different countries, and we can do so in a way that gives us comparative data so that we can also compare across different countries.
So the researcher always likes to put up this nerdy slide with too much information that just says, This is exactly what we did so you understand the base. It tells you that we're working with children between ages 8 and 17 in different cases and we are trying to insure that qualitative and quantitative work are both being done together so we have the children's voices and experiences on how they are engaging with the internet, and we have the quantitative survey work, which is nationally representative so that we can say something about children in that country as a whole.
We're just working with children who are internet users. In European countries or in the global north that often means all children. Though not necessarily. In many parts of the world, internet use is in the minority. For today we're focusing on those who are internet users, and those of you who have read my numbers already from the slide will see that I'm going to tell you about findings in four countries, two of which we have substantial samples, in Argentina and south Africa. And in Argentina, the research is nationally representative. In two other countries, Serbia and Philippines, we were really just testing the methods across different countries.
Where it is practical, we are also trying to work with the parents. If there is not sufficient funding or limitations on the kind of work that can be done, we want to prioritize the children's voice. So often what we find is parents speaking for children and reporting on how children use the internet, but not enough from the children themselves.
I'm going to wiz through a series of slides which prioritizes some of the quantitative findings of the survey and try to give you a flavor of what some of the policy implications might be as well as the kinds of data that an enterprise like ours can generate. And I'm a little worried that you're not going to be able to read the slides. Those of you sitting there perhaps can. I'm going to tell you the key points on the slides for those for whom this is too small. And we do have copies of the reports at the front, and of course everything is online at globalkidsonline.net. We have begun by asking the simple question, how do children go online? It sounds banal, but in most parts of the world we don't yet know how children go online or how many, though we have done our best estimate to say globally, it's one in three children. And we focused on the devices. This slide shows you that most children in our pilot countries go online using the smart phone, followed by a desktop or laptop computer with a tablet a little lower. But the prominence of the smart phone is a crucial and recent trend. It tells you something about how personalized children's internet use is, it tells you something about the expense, and how they or their families are prioritizing the effort of getting online for them. And it gives you a hint of how difficult it will be for parents or teachers to look over their shoulder to ensure they are safe online if mobile first is already becoming crucial.
The other point to note from this graph is that in three of our countries, all of the internet using children were using the smart phone already and the Philippines was way behind. You will see all through the presentation that the Philippines children, because they have less access to the internet, encounter fewer opportunities and also fewer risks. One point I want to draw out is the way that risks and opportunities go hand in hand. The converse will also be obvious in Argentina where the children have the most internet access. They are getting the most from that access in terms of opportunities, but they are also experiencing more of the risks. And I think that challenge of how the opportunities and risks go together is an interesting one for policymakers who would ideally, I think, like to optimize opportunities and minimize risks.
So what opportunities are we talking about? In the global north, we often talk about children having fun online and communicating online. This is important. But in many parts of the world, the internet is fast becoming a really crucial device for children to learn, for children to gain information about their community and work, for children to gain health information. And what we see in this slide is that all of those different kinds of opportunities are very much sought out by children when they do have access to the internet. So over half or even the majority of children in each country said that they learned something every week by using the internet. They find new opportunities for work and study, and between a quarter and a half say that they are gaining health information online every week from using the internet. And I hope that already raises further questions in your mind that we need more research to examine about what kind of health information they're seeking, what kind of health information they're finding, and whether they have the competence and skills to decide on which information is reliable and useful to them.
We ask some questions about skills, and I'm just giving you examples of what is a much larger data set that we have reported on. One question here is how true are these things for you that you find it easy to check if online information is true. And here we find some more variation, and the slide especially shows variation by age. By the time children are older teenagers, they are becoming reasonably confident that they know how to tell what information is true. But the 9 to 11‑year‑olds are very uncertain, indeed. This is 9 to 10‑year‑old internet users who are very uncertain on whether they can rely on the information that they are accessing. That tells us for those thinking of educational enterprises and efforts to provide more digital skills and literacies, training for children, focusing on teenagers is good, but it's not enough. And we also need more efforts with younger children than we've perhaps thought of before.
We asked a number of questions about whether children could keep themselves safe. This is a very practical question. Do you know how to change the privacy settings on your social media profile? And here, too, we see quite a lot of variation such that in all the countries by the time they're older teenagers, children have worked this out. But for the younger children, there are quite a lot of uncertainties about how to manage their privacy settings.
So, again, I think you can see that in Argentina where children have the most access to the internet, the knowledge and skills are the greatest. In the Philippines where it was much harder for children to gain access to the internet, the skills are commensurately lower. But still they are using the internet. They are struggling with some of the skills, and I think at some point we have to ask ourselves as a community concerned with children's safety, how much of this can be taught and how much of this is a matter for the design of the... by service providers? In other words, is it teachers' place to teach children to use the privacy settings on their social media profile? Or is it for the industry to design better to find settings so that children can use them? You'll notice, of course, that the two younger groups, 9 to 11 and 12 to 14 or at least 12 to 13 include a lot of children using social media who are under the age at which the terms and conditions normally permit.
We picked out the question about whether children make new contacts online as a way of illustrating the dilemma of the... I skipped over it at the start. I said we would like children to have more opportunities and fewer risks. We do need to address what is the opportunity and what is a risk. For children, making new contacts online is an opportunity. For many adults, making new contacts online is a risk. Navigating the understanding between children and parents and ensuring that children can have the opportunity to make new contacts to share knowledge about their community or about their interests while keeping them safe from risky contacts or potential abuse is a challenge.
What we see in the graph is that a large minority, not over half, but a large minority of children in each country say they have made new contacts online, and there's a slight, a definite age difference. Older children say more, and a slight gender difference in which boys say they encounter more of these risky opportunities.
When we come to understanding the risks, we've... as it were traced in the questionnaire from risky opportunities to encounters with various risk factors to asking children if those are problematic to them, because not all experiences of risk are directly problematic. In this slide, we asked children in the past year has anything happened online that bothered or upset you in anyway. And now you see that the children from Argentina said that three quarters had something that bothered or upset them online. In other countries, still significant figures. And now also we see that where boys take more risks, girls are more likely to report experiences of being upset or harmed by this.
My last slide is to ask where do children seek support. And this stands in for quite a number of questions that we've asked about the different kinds of ways in which children could gain better support and cope with the risks that they encounter. So here the question was the last time something happened online that bothered or upset you, who did you talk to about it? And overwhelmingly in all the countries, we see that children turn to their friends. They are fairly likely to talk to their parents, and they are extremely unlikely to talk to teachers or other professionals or other adults. So for those of us who say education must be the answer and we want to support children in the online world by providing better education, it has to be a problem that fewer than one in ten children talk to or turn to a teacher when something goes wrong. And there's an interesting challenge for the world of educators there. It's encouraging that they turned to parents quite often, and there must be a question in our minds when they turn to friends. Are the friends helping them? Do the friends encourage them to hit back and escalate the problem? Do the friends have wise advice? And can this be a rationale for more peer mentoring schemes where some children are encouraged to have the useful information that they can then spread to others?
So this was not an easy year for us doing this kind of research. We had to design the interview schedules, the survey, and test it in all of the different countries. We did a lot of learning on the ground about what worked and how to phrase things. And this, for us, is really an ongoing process. So in the period ahead, we continued to think about how best to develop these methods. Even identifying which counts as risk and what counts as opportunities in the different areas that children live in is something that took quite a bit of thought. We have struggled over how much to produce standardized tools and contextually sensitive tools. And our solution to this problem is in both the qualitative and quantitative tool kit, we have core items which must be asked by anyone doing a Global Kids Online project in their country, which means that we can create the tables and graphs and compare. But we also have space for optional tools and individualized tools. And we really invite those we're working with to develop the different kinds of... to develop ways of asking questions on new topics that matter in those different countries. We had a range of other problems that we haven't reported on. Children would tell us they didn't use the internet but of course they used Facebook. How you ask questions of children is challenging. How you measure socio‑economic status in different cultures, how you get the parents not to over hear everything the child is saying. In all of these ways we tried very hard to learn from the field workers in... on the site so that we ensured that the work was as good as it could be.
So, looking ahead, well, we're ambitious. That was piloting in four countries. Jasmina showed you the world map in which we're working with others. We are about to hear more about Brazil. We hope to go to other countries and we hope to develop a common data base so we can analyze how children's online experiences has particular kinds of outcomes for them. And something perhaps to discuss with you today is how the evidence can inform policy. At the same time we are revising the tool kit. And on our website, if you look about "about the project," you can contact us. And you can find out how to work with us on this if you are interested. And of course we need to keep up to date and keep responding to further technology and social changes in children's technology and social environments.
Please do visit our website. The tool kit is there for researchers and research users who are thinking about doing more research in this field. The research reports are also there. We have expert guides on how to undertake this kind of work. Thank you very much.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: We would like to show you a very short video that was prepared in South Africa, actually. And it shows the results of research, but also you can hear from children and their parents what they think about digital technology
[ Captioned video ]
>> JASMINA BYRNE: All right. Thank you for this wonderful presentation. And now I give the floor to Alessandra.
>> ALESSANDRA FRANCOIA: Let me say that this has been a wonderful experience. We started discussing this project back in 2010, '11, I guess, because we are in the fifth edition of kids online Brazil. This is a very large sample, an annual survey. Let me give you a bit of background on our research center. We are providing policymakers with proper framework to produce ICT related statistics. We are linked to the network information center for the dot br. These organizations represent the internet governance mechanism in the country. And our nation is to produce relevant policy in Brazil related to ICTs. And ICT kids online is one of the key projects that we have. Today we have ten nation‑wide surveys. Some of them are annual like Kids Online. The longest survey that we have is households and enterprise. And the regional agenda for Latin American called eLAC. Brazil seeks to measure the achievement of the international goals. This is a summary of the type of data we produce. On the individual sides, we have households and kids online. And we not only measure access and use to ICTs, but also in case of Kids Online, rights and protection. So we are very much concerned with promotion, participation, and protection on their online environment.
And Sonia has already mentioned all of the challenges and conceptual issues. I'm not going to take much time on that. 6,000 interviews, about 3,000 with kids 9 to 17 years old. The same number of interviews with parents. If we approach a household, an ineligible household in the middle of the process, we are not able to interview the parents, we do not consider that household. In case of Brazil, we do have a pair of interviews, meaning kids and their parents or legal guardians. And the mode of collection is face‑to‑face. It is a complex survey because it includes rural area of the country in Brazil. This presents operational challenge and budget issues. I'm going to share with you some findings. I'm not going to go very much into detail because the graphic is not so readable. But to give you a proportion of internet users in the country. When you look at this, Brazil is a country of huge disparities. Some of the country is more developed, and north and northeast, we still face a lot of access challenges. You can see in the graphics in terms of internet users. In the south and southeast, we have very high proportion of the population are internet users. 90 in the south, 88 in the southeast where Rio is located. When you go to the north, we have only 54% of the population at this age using the internet. About 8% of the children aged 9 to 17 years old are internet users. This is for the general population, and when you break it down by region, these represent 23.4 million users in the country. Even that, we have a very high population and proportion of the population connected using the internet. We still have 6 million unconnected children in the country. And 3.6 million never use the internet. With this particular information, we followed the partnership definition for "internet users."
Those individuals, no matter their age, that has used the internet in the last three months. If you have used the internet once in a year or twice in a year, they are not considered internet users. But we have more than 3 million children who have never accessed the internet.
When you break this by level of agenda, age group, and social class, it is very clear that this connectivity is highly co‑related to social class. 97% of children have access to the internet. But when we go to lower income households, we have about half of the population at this age bracket using the internet. The same goes with level of education. So it's high ... highly correlated. Users 15 to 17 are more likely to be internet users. Here is the reason for access to the internet. We have a huge barrier in the country. Affordability is an issue. We have 15% of children not having access... are not internet users because they don't have access at home. This is still a major challenge for policymakers.
When we break this up by different variables like rural and urban areas, we have the rural area, about one‑third of the young population not having access to the internet because they cannot afford to pay that or they don't have service coverage. And also, the low income households, one‑third, they don't have the internet because they don't have funds to pay for that.
Now, this is a very important indicator. Here you have data from 2012 to 2015, four years of data collection. And you can see what happens with the device, mobile device used to access the internet in 2012, it was 21% using the mobile phone to access the internet. And today it has by far bypassed the traditional computer, laptop, or even tablet. So today, mobile phones are the main device to access the internet. And this has some implications on data literacy, for instance. Whereas, high income households, they have multiple devices to access the internet such as tablets, notebooks and smart phone. When you go to the low income households and population, they only access via mobile devices. This poses a huge challenge in terms of development of ICT skills. In those particular social groups, they use the internet mainly for social media and communication activities. So this is, as you can imagine, is a barrier to develop more sophisticated ICT skills.
And this is highly correlated with social class. Here is the same indicator broken by different variables. And if you see the low income social class that we call in Brazil, the classification is AB, C, DE. A and B the upper high income households, DE, 55% they only use the mobile phone to access the internet. That's the only device they have.
Here again, we have the proportion of children by type of internet connection by family income. If you see... sorry. If you see the low income social class, they use mostly Wi‑Fi because they don't pay for 3G, 4G connections. Whereas on the upper class, A and B, they also use only Wi‑Fi and 3G, a mix.
Now I will discuss a little bit how we are using the data in the policy debate at the national level it is important to mention that this survey is supported by the minister, and the regional office in the country. We are investigating how youngers use internet to form products and services this model is not comparable. The whole survey is fully aligned with kids online Europe, and also the more recent Global Kids Online framework. But this particular model and set of indicators are not comparable, because this is only Brazilian demand to have this data. Not only government, but also academic researchers. They are debating in Brazil how internet exposure online are affecting kids' behavior and concentration. Here we have three specific topics that we investigate. First, children's exposure to advertising, children's perception on online advertising, and parents' perception on their children's exposure to online advertising. Then we have exposure to advertising online. Asking for products. We have the rate of the proportion of kids that are asking parents to buy things based on their online experience, online gaming. How online gaming activities are related to consumption. Interaction on the internet, perception about brands and products and online consumption. Those are what we have.
And other topics of interest in the Brazilian context for policy design, we have been discussing intolerance debate like hate speech, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discrimination‑related behavior. We do have an excellent group that supports the survey. We have at least two meetings to discuss methodology of what to measure and how to measure and what to do with the findings. And also we have been conducting qualitative studies. We have supported the qualitative studies on child advertising conducted by the universal federal in several states in cooperation with the ministry of justice. We are also finishing data collection on comparative studies on ICT and gender. We are working with FLACSO researchers in Argentina to understand the behavior of boys and girls online.
Finally, I would like to give you an overview on the advancements of this... on the adoption of this framework in the region. We have been working closely with Argentina and Chile. Argentina has finished the data collection and they have published the data results including discussing with policymakers in Argentina. And Chile is right now on the field. And they may have their report by April, right? By April. April will have three countries in the region with comparable data that we can conduct cross‑national studies N this network we have Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Uruguay, but they are not collecting data yet.
And lastly, this framework here to have comparable data that will allow researchers and policymakers to establish cross‑national comparisons, and rely on those studies to design policies, to think about strategies and action plans. We have two reports published. Those are the main studies we have. The next one will be Argentina. With that I finish my presentation. Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Thank you. Okay. And our last presentation will be from Mario.
>> MARIO VIOLA: Thank you. I will not keep you long. I would like to congratulate you. The UNICEF official has just two people working on digital rights. They have been doing quite impressive work in the Global Kids Online as one of the examples.
I was not part of the Global Kids Online, but reading the reports, I could see that there were important tiers related to just the rights that are under researched and under‑discussed on the actual agenda. There are just a few international documents or discussions on rights. I think from the child's perspective, I think one of them is ICT recommendation that I could find. And some of the participants of this panel, they contributed to this report. It was from this report that I could find this nice list of different risks for children. So you can see the risks related to content, to contacts or cyber‑crime and online harassment and illegal interaction. You have the issues that Alessandra has just mentioned. So you have idea how companies monitor the behavior of children online to impact on their parents' consumer habits. The same for fraudulent transactions like identity theft and of course if you see the different risks, many of them they relate to privacy and data protection as the idea of content or cyber‑bullying and so on. I think we still need to discuss personal consequences from children. And of course, Alessandra highlighted at the beginning of the presentation. Children are quite aware of the privacy risks they face on the internet, since most of them are changing... using the privacy settings of the social network. And they are more concerned about their privacy than average adults. So why not take into account their views and their concerns in the discussions of privacy online or internet governance. None of the examples consider the child's perspective. They just use the parents' views or try to engage young people, but not children at all.
Moving to the legal framework for child privacy online, most countries just rely on normal data protection rules. That's the case of the member states, the data protection rules are independent from the age of the data subjects. We have some specific guidelines in Japan, but not only for children, just for the let's say the way universities process the data. We have specific in the U.S., but colleagues said that they can explain better than I will do. The COPPA frameworks but they have a specific rule on privacy, and that's the most famous example I have of child privacy online. But even the COPPA framework, it mainly relies on the consent of the parents of the child. So they don't have, let's say, any specific rules dealing with interaction between the child and the platform. So it's mainly focused on the parents' perspective. What leads to some form of monitoring, which could lead to child participation, child freedom of expression and so on. It's never the views of the child, but only the views of the parents. The parent will control and see if the data that's being collected from the child is okay or not. So they will have more time. And I was happy to see this morning that there will be a workshop on Friday on child privacy, safety, and freedom of expression, because those rights, they interact a lot. And again another issue is because they COPPA, it's focused on children under 13. There is a gap between 13 and 18‑year‑olds in the U.S., it's just up to 13. Above that, there's no specific rule.
Should we include the views of the children in the discussions? Should we have specific provisions, specific rules? And I have to say that it's missing an international discuss, an international framework for child rights. If you see the reports, they touch on the IHF. If you see the two reports delivered this year, none of them make any reference to child privacy or child protection. So it's not on his main focus area, as he refers to his report. It's missing the child perspective in the debates. Especially because they are more vulnerable than the average person, so they should deserve a higher degree of protection. We also cannot find any discussion on the internet governance area, so there is no reference to children. And there is no nice paper from two panelists. There is no discussion of that era. Of course the review process did not take into consideration after this child perspective because they are... has been said in the panel, they represent at least one‑third of the community of international users. So they should deserve a better consideration in terms of the views. And there are some initiatives. The coalition for child online safety, we have the IGF that deals with children because they are preparing younger audience, but they don't take on board children or teenagers. The same with the next generation ICANN between 18 and 30 years old. Again there is no such debates. They are not getting space. They are not being heard. It's more to raise the needs of the fact that we should include more child perspectives. They have become important. And concerns of privacy and the way that the data is being collected and processed.
Young children cannot even understand what they are doing with the data, but they have been more exposed as the internet generation, even more than ourselves. I was born in the '70s. I think that we should engage more teenagers and even children in general in the debates on revenues and privacy, and rights online, and it should be included in the agenda. I think UNICEF is trying to push for that. And UNESCO has dealt with some privacy issues. But I think the issue of child rights is missing in the international forum. So, that was the idea for today. Just to introduce a debate and try to discuss and comment on the different projects that are represented here. Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]
>> JASMINA BYRNE: We are quite pleased that we have such a large audience. That means our message is coming across to more and more people. Now we would like to open the floor for the discussion. I heard by the organizers that we can stay longer than 12:30 if there are more questions. And just to pose some questions to you. You have seen today through the presentation that we are finding quite similar things when it comes to children's use of the internet in different countries. Is that really the case or are we missing something? Maybe you can tell us because you come from different places around the world. And what are the new issues that we need to look into? The critical questions as Mario was mentioning, how do we get the evidence and concerns that we have around children and children's use of the internet to policymakers, to the international governance community? And really what are the best practices of this type of use of evidence in policymaking. So the floor is now yours. Please introduce yourself before you ask a question or have a comment to our panelists.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have from the center of child protection on the internet. My question is related to differences in age of the children. So, could you detail a little bit more if you found differences, at which age children are aware of that privacy? Not only aware of the privacy settings, but also what does it mean to have your private data to keep them for your own? And because with the upcoming January data protection regulation, we will face this situation that we have different age thresholds across the countries, maybe, and therefore it would be very useful to know whether there are differences in the different countries. Thank you.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Should we take a couple of more questions before we give the floor to the panelists again? There's one over there. Okay.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello. My name is Allen, and I'm here with privacy fundamentals, a new company in this space. And the question raised in my mind by these presentations is that given the borderless nature of online access and communications and yet the geographically bound nature of the legal regimes controlling it, how do you connect those parts and cross the borders and make things work for enforceability and safety?
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Thank you. I think we have two people here?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello. I'm from the web foundation. This is great work. I didn't hear much on what is emerging from the researchers yet. We're looking at women's rights online. There's a framework that we have been looking at around education that is digital literacy, affordable access, and content especially as it pertains to women's rights online. I see how women get online also impacts their children. This would be an interesting area to explore. But the second question I actually wanted to ask or the first question I want to ask, really is how do you make sure the work you're doing around children's online protection don't become the cyber effort.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I work closely with Jasmina, and I want to congratulate you all for the fantastic work. I think we're very pleased that this has come together. I thought what you were saying, Sonia, about the issue that actually, we know that children tend to turn to their peers instead of teachers. And in the second place, maybe they turn to the parents. This is very interesting finding that is important for policymaking. Have you planned on looking into what kind of information the children want to receive from parents and teachers and also what kind of information they are seeking or what they talk about with their peers?
Because in UNICEF, we also did an opinion poll this year about children's use of... or young people's use of the internet. And it exactly showed that although children did reach out more to peers than to parents, they did not feel necessarily ready to provide support to kids who were in dangerous situations online.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Okay. So Sonia, do you want to start?
>> SONIA LIVINGSTONE: Those were a fantastic set of questions, so thank you very much. So privacy is kind of emerging as a key theme that links, I think, a lot of people's concerns. So just thinking about the European context as we grapple with European data protection regulation, I guess one thing that shows up is actually in many countries in so far as they're dealing with international internet countries, COPPA has become not just the law for America, but it has become de facto law for the world. And in many countries, I think people are saying is 13 the age at which children can understand what are the risks online? I think even COPPA, and I know Katherine Montgomery, I don't know if she's here, but COPPA was passed in a different media environment. And what a child could understand when it was passed in the late '90s is a different thing from what a child can understand from the complex online environment in 2016. So I think there are some really hard questions for us around questions of age, and that's probably something that I will let other panelists speak to but will have more to say this afternoon.
Perhaps just to say thinking in this very international framework, one of the discussions was about the notion of a child. And we're working with the UNICEF with the definition of anyone under 18. But those teenaged years raise crucial questions about those teenagers who might themselves be parents in other countries. We have done a lot of thinking about the contextual differences of childhood, and that might be a comment to Allen on the question of how do we deal with the borderless internet. But real differences in the context of children and young people's lives in different cultures, and national laws that have been developed in those different contexts. I guess this is one forum where we try to bring it all together, the IGF and similar kinds of international forum. And I think it has been helpful to work with the child's rights framework, something common and universal and principled for children everywhere, but leaving space for a degree of interpretation and contextualization.
Shall I answer all the questions? I'll let others, and I might come back. Yeah.
>> MARIO VIOLA: Everyone has these differences in ...
>> ALESSANDRA FRANCOIA: What Brazil reveals is the older the children, the older the risks they face. And also, they are more aware about the privacy, the concept of privacy, including the different applications, etc. I also would like to mention that given the spread of mobile devices, and the possibility of the children who use or access the internet in their private space, this poses a very huge problem of mediation, parental mediation. And maybe in Europe, the implications may be different, but in Brazil, we have about half percent of the parents are not internet users. And this, of course, is highly correlated with social class and level of education. The higher the education the parent has, and the higher their socio‑economic status, the more likely they are to be internet users. How they are going to mediate their children if they are not internet users? Not only age is an issue, but also the mediation strategies for the safe use of the internet.
If I can, also address the web foundation questions on how not to become a silo effort, what we have experienced in Brazil is not an easy task to convince policymakers to use data. Policymakers don't like data, usually. Evidence. So we have made some progress in terms in terms of consumption on the new model that you don't have in Europe and in the Global Kids Online framework. This is more easy to discuss and to bring to the public, to the policy debate. But the channel line protection, like gender issues, etc., is not an easy task. But we are making progress. How we are working not to become this effort a silo, we do have a periodical expert group meeting involving policymakers, and we do also conduct policy building with policymakers and academic researchers to discuss how to use the statistics and evidence in the policy‑making process.
It's got a long way to go, still. But that's the way and strategy that we found as data producers to engage policymakers in this debate.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: I wanted to say a couple of words about some of the questions that came around the policy. There was a question about parents and parental engagement and the age. We found, for example, in South Africa, that parental skills are on the level of 11 to 12‑year‑olds. So what does that mean when it encourages parental engagement? Where they are not able to follow‑up what older kids are doing online. So some of the strategies that I think we need to agree on is how we actually support parents to have better relationships with their children, to establish trust and communication so that children share with them what is happening. Because we did ask in our research also about the quality of relationships that children have with their parents, and they were pretty positive. Obviously, there is much there that we could do together. When it comes to education policies, our colleagues from UNESCO have done a mapping of skills and literacies, and as we see through our research that younger and younger children are going online, these policies are mostly addressing 12 and above. So we need to think again and talk to education authorities and foreign ministries that these skills and literacies need to start at a much earlier age.
And you know, how do we consistently... I think one of you was asking how do we consistently have a message for policymakers? I think we need to see that all the rights of children on the internet are mainstreamed in all the ICT policies that are done at a national level, an international level. Whether there are information society, whether they're economic policies, the deal with ICT and development. We're talking about a generation of children who are going to be future users, and what does it mean for their employability and the skills they are developing for the market economy in ten years' time. It's not only about laws and policies particularly addressing children's rights and issues. Of course ICT needs to be mainstreamed in those as well, but we also need to mainstream children's issues in all the other policies that exist at a national and international level.
>> MARIO VIOLA: I think there is no magical formula to solve this issue. But of course included in the debate, while putting around the same thing with different stake holders, I think having a multi-stakeholder approach is necessary. The IT ones are the ones who process the data and interact with the children. They should be included in the discussion, and since most of them are in the U.S., some U.S. laws, they become the law to different states. I think it's important to include competence, of course. But they have to raise it to an international level. It's an issue and a discussion that is missing. But there is no, let's say, pre‑made formula. We have to discuss and it has to be part of academia and so on. That's the main points.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Sonia?
>> SONIA LIVINGSTONE: I just wanted to go back to the question about silos, which I think is a really important question. And I want to make two quick points. One is something about intersexuality. Children are also gendered. Girls are doubly disadvantaged at times. There could be projects that work with their mothers to overcome, I think that's a fantastic idea. Perhaps more controversially, what I think about the silos about the so‑called vulnerable and marginalized who are, in fact, the majority not the minority. And then children or the disabled or the elderly who get very little said about them. Actually, we adopted a vast majority of the world. What's extraordinary in a way is the internet user is somehow imagined as... I'm trying not to look at those in the room, a white middle class, middle‑aged male. That is not the typical user and that is not who we should be designing the policies and internet for.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: There are a couple of more questions. One and two?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: This is Kelly from Korea. I'm a civil society member, and I want to pose a question, like, it's been bothering me that when we talk about like children protection online, we always talk about how to protect them, but we are kind of overseeing that children's rights like right to privacy and right to access information are like compromised. I... thank you for the great presentation and great effort and great research. But I totally agree with Mario's comments that like children's perspectives are, like, ignored in the research and in the discussions. Like in Korea, you know, we have... south Korea has the highest participation rate, and like 98% of our kids are natives. So the elders are freaking out about protecting the different mediums online. And last year our government passed a law which compelled all telecommunication companies to install this monitoring parental control app on all kids' smart phones. Kids in Korea is under 19. So, like, it includes kids and like young kids and like juveniles and young juveniles as well. The thing is, so it was very pessimistic approach by the state. They enforced this law, and they completely ignored the kids' privacy that can be compromised by the monitoring apps because it stores and transmits all of the personal information to the companies, the app developers and all.
Like last year, citizen lab from Toronto university audited the monitoring apps that are mandated by the law, and a few of them were found to have very many vulnerabilities that expose children to this privacy risks. So does UNICEF have a plan to research into this topic, how to protect children without compromising their privacy or their right to access information?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you. I'm from UNESCO. It's great to hear about such a great project from UNICEF in collaboration with UNESCO in Latin America and southeast Asia. I want to touch on what our Korean speaker just touched on, children's rights. I heard that privacy and data protection of children have been well highlighted in this initiative. I'm also very concerned about children's act to access to information and freedom of expression. Fundamentally right to privacy. I believe that we support each other in many cases and I wonder how you perceive this from the right of free special access to information in the children's initiative. And any evidence found that maybe children's rights to access information and freedom of expression being sort of limited and restricted in the situation in some countries.
Second question is about gender. I think our speaker also mentioned about women's issues. For the young people and they are 18, 19, and evidence being found about young girls may be sort of different vulnerability and being harassed or have more difficulty to access to protect themselves to be benefitting from the internet. That's also another concern. Thank you.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Thank you. Is there anybody else?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello. Thank you for the great work. It's exciting to see what you're doing, especially Sonia, you being able to scale out consistent work internationally. My concern is with... we developed a COPPA safe harbor that attached on to student privacy laws that were specific to the United States. I think there's a good temperature for providing assurances that the technology that students are using at school has been vetted for that accountability and the transparency piece. When we look across the country, particularly anywhere, you can choose anywhere, when you see children using sites in the education space, there's usually very little oversight or understanding about security and about actual, where the data goes. So I'm interested to see if this is something that you see could be done in other countries where they would be in Brazil, education assessment, and then there could be some consistencies that were regional and then also global?
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Larry?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think someone here talked about how children as they get into their teenaged years are getting better at recognizing fake news, but the fake news could have had an impact on the U.S. election, which of course, involves people over 18. I'm wondering what we do know about fake news and its impact. I'm surprised by the number when you indicated the percent to which kids are aware of that. Perhaps kids are smarter than adults. But it does seem to be a growing issue and growing concern that's being expressed in the U.S. Thanks.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: We are certainly going to continue working with our partners in Latin America, with Sonia and her team and many other countries to spread Global Kids Online more globally. We will be looking into possibly some other modules that we could add on hate speech, discrimination, freedom of expression, and trying to understand better privacy, freedom of expression and protection, and how they interact. We do have a model on civic engagement, and we asked the children if they read the news online, if they engaged in a community action. And we see that while a lot of children read news, fewer are actively engaged in civic participation, but we don't know why. Is it because they don't have possibilities or maybe they're not interested in being engaged online and would rather do good civic work in their own communities or through schools. For this type of research, we need more qualitative studies targeted at specific groups of children.
So maybe, Mario, you can answer some of the privacy questions?
>> MARIO VIOLA: I will make a few comments. The idea of controlling, of course it impacts not only privacy, but freedom of expression, access of information, and the prospect of civic participation of children. It's part of the whole discussion of digital rights. You have to try to find the balance between protecting. I think the first... the Korean colleague, she mentioned it. But we are always discussing the idea of protecting children online. So as related to cyber‑bullying and access to illegal content. But we have to promote rights. That's the main challenge we face, to try to engage in the discussions. That's also the idea of the perspective of protecting and enforcing rights. It is something that has been done for a while. The issue of data retention laws, which was the Korean example, it's a threat in every part of the world. When we include different data retention rules, it's always a challenge for privacy and freedom of expression, because you put in the hands of the state the possibility of monitoring content and see what people are doing, sometimes it prevents people of exercising their full rights because they are afraid of being controlled and being, let's say, punished by the state and so on. So I think it's a good moment to raise these issues. We are looking to the different.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: Among people who are not necessarily experts, and many of them are parents, they start saying we have no idea what our kids are doing online. We need to understand at a convention, the rights of the child that gives children the right to privacy from their own parents as well and their freedom of expression is linked and their participation to their evolving capacities because not all children will have the same level of capacity to participate actively in the matters that affect them. What is happening in south Korea is something that is worth looking at in more detail. I will talk to you maybe more after this.
>> SONIA LIVINGSTONE: We asked how children judged the information before the fake news issue arose. But I think -- there's something complex about what it is that people can understand, children included. And that is how the online environment is structured for them. Children judge whether they can understand what's good information and what's bad information with the criteria available to them. And what we now see in the fake news debate is the criteria about how information ever becomes public, how it gets circulated and where it's produced. It has become so obscure and so fast‑moving and so complex that my guess is actually nobody understands. I wouldn't say that children do, either. But, I somehow... slightly complicated note, but I want to link that to questions about privacy. Because I think people don't know how to judge. They don't even know how to judge when their information is private and whether they are appropriately protecting it or who is invading their privacy and how they data is being used. And maybe one kind of answer in the policy point is that those who are tracking what's happening with school data collection and I think there's also stuff around the way in which governments are using people's health data, maybe there's a place to push. Because until people see that their governments are treating their data fairly, they don't even have the language with which to argue that companies should be treating their data fairly. So they can't even see the ways in which their rights are being exploited or ignored. So perhaps a policy point would be to say in relation to schools and in relation to health data and research data, that's where one might start saying... and then people will again to see what does transparency look like? What does fairness look like? What kind of information could be being provided to users?
And then they could ask for that more widely there are real limits in the way of what we can ask people in such an opaque and complex digital environment.
>> ALESSANDRA FRANCOIA: Just some final remarks. We had a conference in the beginning of November, and I had the privilege to participate in that conference. And one finding that is very important, all of these issues being discussed here about critical use of information and privacy, etc., and citizenship engagement, has to do with education. So the key action that we have to work with the policymakers is how to bring all of this topic that we're discussing into the education. We had UNESCO called the Asia Pacific center for international understanding that is discussing to make a work. And how to engage children on this debate. The problem is first we have to have a mix of qualitative approach and quantitative approach, and bring these findings to the policy debate. But also it is very difficult to scale up, for instance, the initiatives being conducted in Korea is wonderful, but how to scale up in a country like Mexico? Like Brazil? Or like in India? So this is the challenge. And just to finalize, I think that we have a long road ahead to reach the point of having very effective policies that really considers privacy issues. And we can protect and promote children's online environment. Thank you.
>> JASMINA BYRNE: With these final remarks, I think we have come to the end of our session. Thank you all very much for coming today and for participating. We have some copies of our summary report. And you can find all of the other information online, including country reports and what they do with their data. They are also reporting to us how they are using the evidence, and thank you to the panelists once again. I think you deserve a big applause.
[ Applause ]