India is the latest country to join the Global Kids Online network and carry out research on children’s internet use. With a population of 247 million children aged 9 to 17 years old, India can provide important evidence on children’s experiences in South Asia. The research will be carried out by the Centre for Development management and Communication, MICA, (Ahmedabad) and will initially focus on the state of Gujarat.

Information and communication technologies like computers, mobile devices, and the internet, have changed how societies function. The new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from ‘We Are Social’ and Hootsuite reveals that there are now more than 4 billion people around the world using the internet. India is no exception to this. By the end of 2017, India had over 460 million internet users expected to rise to almost 627 million users by the end of 2019.

Digital media have also affected the lives of children and young people globally raising questions about their impact on children’s wellbeing and rights in the digital age. At present, however, there are still considerable evidence gaps and more evidence is needed, particularly from the global South, to guide state-level, national and international policy and practice in the best interests of children. To address these evidence gaps in India, the Centre for Development management and Communication (CDMC), MICA, (Ahmedabad) initiated, in collaboration with Global Kids Online, the new research project – Indian Kids Online: negotiating the global and the digital flows. The study aims to support the generation of a rigorous evidence base around children’s use of the internet in India and to expand the international evidence from a South Asian perspective.

The Study

The Global Kids Online network aims to maximize the online opportunities for children and minimize its risks around the world- outcomes that would be highly relevant and beneficial to India’s young population which is the largest in the world – approximately 19 per cent (247 million) of the total population of India are between 9 and 17 years old. On the other hand, experiences from India can help policymakers, educators, and governments worldwide in their efforts to make the internet better for children.

In synchrony with the overall Global Kids Online objectives, the Indian study aims to:

  • Comprehensively understand children’s online access, use of information, experiences, and the impact of online risks and opportunities on children’s wellbeing.
  • Study children’s expectations for online technologies, their ideas about rights, needs, and the specific challenges that arise from accessing information through the internet.
  • Study the impact of socio-economic and demographic factors, such as gender, geographic location, and socioeconomic status on children’s experiences.
  • Research the practices of sharing information between children and parents, as well as the level of parental mediation.
  • Test the applicability of the Global Kids Online research toolkit to the Indian context and identify the necessary adaptations to suit the local requirements.

Design and methodology

The study, Indian Kids Online: negotiating the global and the digital flows will be conducted in multiple phases. The first phase will cover only the state of Gujarat in Western India with a population of 60,383,628 people which is 4.99% of the total Indian population. Gujarat currently has 33 districts with varying levels of technology use.

To capture the online experience of children in the different parts of Gujarat, the study will cover different geographic locations within the state – the plains, the coastal area, the hill area, and the semi-arid area.  The study will involve both quantitative and qualitative methods with a sample size of approximately 850 children and 100 adults.

The major stakeholders of the study will be as follows:

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Teachers and educators
  • Policy planners and implementers
  • Academic scholars, experts, think tanks, and NGOs

The research team

Lead investigator: the research team will be led by Prof Manisha Pathak-Shelat, Chair of CDMC and a leading scholar in the field of young people and media in India.

Core team members: Prof Arbind Sinha and Mr Kshitij Joshi

Research support: Murtaza Gandhi (CDMC Research Coordinator), Priyanki Choudhari (CDMC Research Associate), and a team of field researchers.

About the Centre for Development Management & Communication (CDMC)

CDMC is a centre of excellence that leverages MICA’s expertise in strategic communication and information and communication management to strengthen development programs across various sectors. The Centre has a team of multi-disciplinary faculty and researchers specialising in communication, anthropology, sociology and psychology, and experts in education and digital media with considerable experience in communication research.

Post author: Manisha Pathak-Shelat

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