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Save the Children Finland,Save the Children International,Save the Children Zambia
A research study using the Global Kids Online methodology, exploring children’s access to, and use and experiences of, digital technology and the internet in Zambia. The report builds on the research to offer a set of recommendations for policy and practice for Zambia.
The Zambia Kids Online study is the first study on children’s online experiences to be conducted in Zambia. Building on the Global Kids Online toolkit, data was collected in three peri-urban areas through a household survey and focus group discussions. It explores children’s access to technology; children’s digital skills; online risks and harms; and mediation by adults. Like children everywhere in the world, children in Zambia spend much of their time online on social media for fun, entertainment and chatting to friends. While children enjoy the opportunities to play and chat with friends online, they also widely appreciate the opportunity the internet presents to learn new things and to expand their knowledge.
Children routinely face the same risks online faced by children the world over. These range from contact and conduct risks to content risks (where children are exposed to content that may pose specific risks to them). Where children encounter unwanted sexual advances, content or contact from others online, this most often comes from people their own age or those known to them. Of particular concern is the extent of age-inappropriate content that the children actively seek out, particularly content relating to self-harm, suicide, violence, and drug abuse. There are both online and offline factors that are driving or facilitating children’s exposure to this content. The reported low levels of seeking help within this context creates the potential for negative psychological and mental health outcomes for children. There is little active or supportive mediation of the children’s internet use by adults, and children feel that they are largely on their own or reliant on friends and peers to figure out their own way online, including knowing how to stay safe. The study provides recommendations for policy and legislation, for children themselves, for teachers, and for parents and caregivers. These recommendations are framed within the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment No. 25 (2021).
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