Child Online Safety Toolkit

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Research and development

Regularly updated data and research are crucial to understanding the implications of the digital environment for children’s lives, evaluating its impact on their rights and assessing the effectiveness of State interventions. States parties should ensure the collection of robust, comprehensive data that is adequately resourced and that data are disaggregated by age, sex, disability, geographical location, ethnic and national origin and socioeconomic background. Such data and research, including research conducted with and by children, should inform legislation, policy and practice and should be available in the public domain. Data collection and research relating to children’s digital lives must respect their privacy and meet the highest ethical standards. Source: General comment No. 25 (2021), para 30272

Objective: To ensure a holistic and up to date approach to child online safety, each of the steps below is necessary.

Model policy text: To establish and fund effective and publicly accessible national and regional child online safety research and development frameworks to support child online safety policy development and implementation. 9a. Establish child online safety research frameworks Countries should establish a central research fund to develop a research programme with clearly identified terms of reference and objectives that remain current, in order to enable ongoing research in child online safety across a broad range of relevant issues. Where possible, countries should reach out and cooperate with each other on child online safety research and development. Gap analysis should help to ensure resources are prioritised in areas of biggest need and to avoid unnecessary duplication. Research should be made available to regional or international partners, particularly those with the least resource. 9b. Continued innovation Research evidence will inform the development of products and services that incorporate safety by design; enable the evaluation of child online safety practice; and provide an understanding of children’s online experiences and solutions in the national context. 9c. Establish centres of excellence in research and development in child online safety Countries should develop centres of excellence within existing institutions (universities, health settings, innovation hubs) that can share and cooperate on the development of tools, services and skills relating to child online safety through national, regional and international engagement. 

272. General comment No. 25 (2021) on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment, UNCRC, 2021.