Children and Mobile Technology

Course Content

Course overview
Children and young people are among the most avid users of mobile technologies, which can have a tremendously positive impact on their lives. Like any tool, however, mobile technologies can be used to cause harm, and parents, governments and industry have a role in protecting and supporting children who are connected. This course looks at the issue from several angles, including cultural differences regarding children’s use of mobile devices, child online protection and whether regulation is necessary.

Course objectives
– Acknowledge the benefits while mitigating risks for children
– Learn what is known about children’s use of mobile technologies
– Understand the law related to online child sexual exploitation
– Understand the role of regulation in child online protection


Children & Mobile Session 1

What Is Child Online Protection?
- Distinguishing between safe use and responsible use by children
- The misuse of technology by adults to exploit children

Children’s Use of ICT
– The impact of ICT on children’s rights
– What we know about children’s attitudes to ICT

Children & Mobile Session 2

Mobile-Aided Learning


Children & Mobile Session 3

Issues, Roles and Responsibilities
– Digital safety: What are the risks?
– Promoting safe and responsible digital citizenship

Children & Mobile Session 4

To Regulate or Not to Regulate?
– Regulatory evolution 2004–2014
– Learnings from the international community

Children & Mobile Session 5

Combatting Online Child Sexual Abuse
– The importance of clear legislation
– Enabling effective collaboration between hotlines, helplines, law enforcement, industry and NGOs
– Technical solutions to prevent revictimisation through online images

Overlap Between Children’s Use of Technology and Child Sexual Exploitation
– Behaviours and consequences
– The importance of education and awareness
– Reporting

Moving Forward on Child Online Protection
– Developing a high-level action plan for child online protection

Online Child Sexual Exploitation — Context
– Terminology, statistics and trends
– The role of the internet
– Key players and the international backdrop: political, law enforcement, industry


GSMA has carried out a number of comparative studies in the past years. Its latest study explores children's use of mobile phones in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. More research studies are available here.

Conventions & legislation

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC)
The UN CRC is the cornerstone of children’s rights. The Convention has three optional protocols: the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the Optional Protocol on a communications procedure. Visit the Indicators webpage to see a list of countries which have ratified the Convention and its Optional Protocols.

Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention)
The Council of Europe convention includes child pornography under Title 3 – Content-related offences. State parties are represented by the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY). Another convention by the Council of Europe is the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention). Most member states of the Council of Europe have ratified this Convention.

At national level, many countries have frameworks which tackle aspects related to child online protection and child sexual abuse. The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) regularly carries out global reviews of national legislation. More information about ICMEC’s review and model legislation is available on ICMEC’s website.


Among the main guidelines for stakeholders are the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) guidelines forChildren; Parents, Guardians and Educators; Industry (updated); and Policy-makers. The guidelines form part of the ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative, and were produced in collaboration with several partners and experts.

Research & studies

Several studies have been carried out on children’s and young person’s use of technology and the Internet. On a global level, UNICEF's Innocenti Research Centre, established in 1988, carries out and supports research on children's rights. View the centre's research projects and publications, The centre's work over the past 25 years is documented in an anniversary publication.

In the European Union, one of the most widely known research initiatives is the EU Kids Online, a multinational research network funded by the EC’s Better Internet for Kids programme. The network’s latest findings are available on its website.

In the USA, regular studies on children and technology are carried out by the Pew Research Centre (see the 2015 study on teens, social media and technology).

Other resources

Child Safety: A User-Centred Approach to Internet Governance
DiploFoundation’s comic book (second edition) presents an illustrated short story of a child who feels distressed as he accesses a harassing video online, and the reactions and roles of his parents, civil society, and other stakeholders.

Discussion paper series

Children’s Rights and Business in a Digital World. Privacy, protection of personal information and reputation rights UNICEF’s website.

Course Duration
3 weeks
Next Scheduled
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Course Leader
Lauren Dawes
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Course Moderator
Andrea Guajardo
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Andrea is Senior Partnerships and Digital Training Manager for the Capacity Building programme. Based in Santiago, Chile, she manages the CE-Digital programme, a capacity building partnership with CAF and ECLAC in Latin America. Andrea holds a Master's degree in Linguistics and a Bachelor's degree in English Education from the Universidad de Santiago.