UNICEF’s Bult: Children living in remote areas, constrained by poverty are affected by lack of access to technology
The lack of access to digital technology particularly affects children who live in remote areas or who are constrained by poverty, exclusion and emergency situations, and in Romania we notice major differences between development regions regarding the access to internet, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF in Romania Piter Blunt told the conference called “The status of world’s children – Children in a digital world.”
He stated that almost a third of the youngsters around the world – 346 million – don’t benefit from access to digital technology. Thus, this situation particularly affects children who live in remote areas or who are constrained by poverty exclusion and emergency situations. He went on saying that in Romania – one of the fastest countries, in terms of internet connection – major differences can be spotted regarding the access to internet, the share of people ever using internet ranging from 87.3 percent in the Ilfov region to less than 70 percent in the North-East region, a rural area with a much higher level of poverty. The UNICEF representative stated that digital technology and innovation can change the course of life for the most marginalized children of the world, helping them realize their potential and break the inter-generational poverty cycle, but they can also lead to accentuating the cycle of disadvantage, leaving them behind and deepening the existing inequities, such as those we can notice between the rural and urban Romania.
In Pieter Bult’s vision through digital technology, children are more exposed to existing dangers both online and offline.
The UNICEF representative pointed out that when discussing policies aimed at children’s safety, Romania is a committed partner.
Therefore, at the beginning of this year, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children was launched, within which Romania acts as one of the 13 countries that took on the role of champions against violence.
UNICEF Romania presented on Monday the Report called “The Status of World’s Children 2017: Children in the digital world.” According to the document, one of three internet users worldwide is a child or a teenager under 18, while youngsters aged between 15 and 24 represent the best connected group. Furthermore, 71 percent of children or young internet users are in the online environment, compared with 48 percent of the total population. Moreover, there are increasingly more proof according to which children are accessing internet at increasingly younger ages, and, in some countries, children under 15 have the same chances to use the internet as adults over 25 years of age.