This guide sets out the research framework for Global Kids Online. It introduces the research context and aims, and situates these within relevant findings about children’s online access, risks and opportunities.

Author: Sonia Livingstone

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The guide begins by identifying the global research challenge of researching children’s internet and mobile use as more children go online around the world. A review of available statistics and research literature shows that the evidence based to date is uneven, with many gaps that urgently need to be filled. This is vital if stakeholders are to base their policy and practice on robust evidence regarding the online risks and opportunities as well as outcomes for children’s well-being and rights.

The guide highlights the overarching research questions and defines the main terms used throughout Global Kids Online. It then provides a step-by-step rationale for the Global Kids Online model, showing how individual, social and country levels of explanation all contribute to analysing and measuring the influences on children’s rights in the digital age. This effort poses a number of challenges for researchers, and these are identified and best practice solutions suggested.
The guide also includes: a checklist with questions to consider when framing a new research project, a glossary of key terms related to researching children’s internet and mobile use, and a list of key resources.

All resources developed by Global Kids Online, including this report, are available under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC) and can be used only for non-commercial purposes and with attribution.

The preferred citation for this report is:

Livingstone, Sonia (2016) A framework for researching Global Kids Online: understanding children’s well-being and rights in the digital age. London: Global Kids Online. Available from:

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