Digital economy

Children in the digital environment


Children today spend an increasing part of their lives online: since 2011, the number of 12- to 15-year-olds who own smartphones has increased by more than 50%. The digital environment offers tremendous benefits to children, opening new channels for education, creativity and social interaction. But it also presents serious risks, including cyberbullying, sextortion and risks to privacy. These risks have become particularly acute amid the COVID-19 crisis and the surge in screen time it has precipitated.

The OECD Recommendation on Children in the Digital Environment, adopted in May 2021, aims to help countries to find a balance between protecting children from online risks, and promoting the opportunities and benefits that the digital world provides. The Recommendation sets out principles for promoting a safe and beneficial digital environment for children, recommendations on overarching policy frameworks, and highlights the importance of international co-operation.


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