Binary Code: Can Technological Innovations Improve Children’s Lives?

Originally published in Newsweek by  on November 20, 2014

Twenty-five years ago, iPods, Wi-Fi and the Google search engine didn’t exist. These inventions have changed people’s lives. Has technology been able to do the same for the world’s children?

Thursday marks the 25 years since the United Nations ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which established basic human rights for the world’s children.

While massive challenges still exist for children worldwide, including access to education and gender equality, technological advances can help improve the lives of disadvantaged children and their communities around the world, a new report by UNICEF says.

The “State of the World’s Children” report, published Thursday to mark the convention’s 25th anniversary, looks at how innovations can change lives and what needs to be done for the future.

The world continues to be a scary place for billions of children who face violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse, Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s chief of child protection, told Newsweek. That includes “exploitation in all of its senses,” including trafficking, child labor and sex work, for example.

“Across all workstreams and sectors, there remains unfinished business of the last 25 years,” Bissell said on Tuesday. “We need to move into a phase of rapid implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and serious financing for the protection of children.”

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