UNICEF report finds that 7 in 10 young people worldwide are digitally connected

Image credit: UNICEF

UNICEF recently released The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World. This report examines the impact that digital technology has had on the lives of children all over the world.

Young people are the most digitally connected age group worldwide. Seven in 10 (71%) young people use the internet, compared to a little less than half (48%) of the total population. However, this leaves out about 346 million young people – more than the total population of the United States – who are not using the internet or other digital tools. The children left out of digital connectivity are often those who could benefit most, creating a digital divide that could deepen existing socioeconomic divisions if it is not closed.

As part of the research for this report, UNICEF used the social messaging tool U-Report to survey young people (ages 13-24) about their internet use. They got 63,000 responses from youth living in 24 countries. About 2 in 5 respondents (42%) said that they taught themselves how to use the internet, while a similar number (39%) reported that they learned from friends or siblings. Young people from low-income countries are 2.5 times more likely than their wealthier counterparts to say that they need more access to digital devices to improve their lives online.

When young people were asked what they like most about using the internet, 2 in 5 (40%) said they like using it learn things for school and about a quarter (24%) like using it to learn skills that they can’t learn in school. When asked what they dislike about the internet, about a quarter (23%) mentioned violent content and a third (33%) dislike seeing unwanted sexual content. About 1 in 10 (8%) said that there is nothing they dislike about the internet, an answer that was more popular in low-income countries.

For more information about children growing up in a digital world, the full report can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

In Colorado school libraries, librarians are engaging with their school community and e-book use is on the rise

Every year, the Library Research Service conducts the School Library Survey to understand the state of school libraries in Colorado. This year there was a 29% response rate. Out of the 315 libraries that completed the survey, 56% have a certified teacher librarian or media specialist on staff.

Between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, the median number of e-books increased and physical books decreased for elementary, middle, and high school library collections. For elementary and middle schools, the median number of computers also increased.

Most of the other statistics in the survey remained consistent between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. School libraries staffed by a certified teacher librarian continue to show high rates of engagement with the larger school community, with 95% of librarians participating in school committees and 91% meeting regularly with their principal. At least once a week, the majority of school librarians help students use digital resources, use a variety of sources, use technology to organize information, apply critical thinking skills, and evaluate the credibility of sources. Librarians have special training in these skills and how to work with students and teachers.

The School Library Survey is undergoing a major revision with the goal of being as useful as possible for school library staff. This year’s survey will open on April 1, 2018. If you participated in the survey for 2016-2017, you can access your school’s library profile here.

To see more results from the 2016-17 Colorado School Library Survey, view the 2016-2017 Annual Colorado School Library Survey Highlights Fact Facts.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.