UNICEF’s annual flagship publication, ‘The State of the World’s Children’ Report, was formally launched today by Dr. Shashi Panja, Hon’ble Minister of State, Women & Child Development & Social Welfare. Ms. Ananya Chakraborty, Chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights was also present at this occasion as a special guest.
The State of the World’s Children Report provides insights on specific issues and challenges with regard to children’s well-being each year and focuses on the situation of children across the world to fulfil the rights of children.
The theme of this year’s report is ‘Children in a digital world’ and it presents UNICEF’s first comprehensive look at the different ways digital technology is affecting children’s lives and life chances, identifying dangers as well as opportunities. The report also explores the benefits digital technology can offer to the children- increasing their access to information, building skills for the digital workplace, and giving them a platform to connect and communicate their views.
Like globalization and urbanization, ‘digitalization’ has already changed the world. But the report shows how millions of children are missing out and do not have access to the digital world. Around one third of the world’s youth – 346 million – are not online, exacerbating inequities and reducing children’s ability to participate in an increasingly digital economy.
“In most cases, these children are often who are already deprived because of poverty, race, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, displacements or geographical isolation. This only compounds their deprivation, effectively denying them the skills and knowledge that could help them fulfil their potential – and helping break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and poverty. We have to ensure that every child has access to internet so that they have find equal learning opportunities to grow and fulfill their potential,” Dr. Shashi Panja, following the formal launch of the report.
The report presents current data and analysis about children’s online usage and the impact of digital technology on children’s wellbeing, exploring growing debates about digital “addiction” and the possible effect of screen time on brain development.
UNICEF has been working together with governments, private sector, children’s organizations, academia, families and children themselves to help increase the access of children to digital technology and make the internet safer for children, the report says.
Mr. Mohammad Mohiuddin, Chief, UNICEF office for West Bengal shared, “If leveraged in the right way and universally accessible, digital technology can be a game changer for children being left behind –because of poverty, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, displacement or geographic isolation – connecting them to a world of opportunity and providing them with the skills they need to succeed in a digital world. But unless we expand access, digital technology may create new divides that prevent children from fulfilling their potential. We need faster action, focused investment and greater cooperation to harness the opportunities of the digital age to benefit every child”.
The State of the World’s Children 2017 report has been released and disseminated across the world this month by UNICEF.