Young people all over the world have eagerly embraced the technology as a way to obtain information and to communicate with others. Mobile phones are possibly the most popular technology in the world and use has increased dramatically in the past decade. Eight in 10 people in developing countries own a mobile phone (though this varies by region), with many of those phones connected to the internet. Youth are often the most avid users of technology – while twenty percent of youth own mobile phones, only 8 percent of those over 45 do.
International health organizations are considering ways to leverage new information and communication technologies (ICTs)—such as Web sites, SMS/text messaging, video games and mass media (radio/television shows)—to improve reproductive health services and to broaden access to educational materials available to the young people who need them most. While the potential of technology to reach new and more diverse audiences with information is clear, evaluations of these programs have provided mixed evidence of impact. While there is some evidence of changes in attitudes and knowledge as a result of exposure to technology-based interventions, there is less evidence of how these translate into longer-term behavioral change.

Young and Online: Children’s perspectives on life in the digital age: The State of the World’s Children 2017 Companion Report

This UNICEF report shares the insight from over 490 children (ages 10 through 18 from 26 countries) on how and why they use technology in their daily lives. “This Companion Report, which should be read alongside the main report, explores in further detail the rich contributions of children for understanding the opportunities and challenges digital technologies present in their everyday lives.” (2017)

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index Report 

The most recent Global Youth Wellbeing Index Report shares insight on youth health and wellbeing from around the world, including the index itself which measures “the degree to which a young person’s environment supports their holistic success in education, health, economic opportunity, and citizenship.” This report include the domain of information and communication technology (ICT). (2017)

Children in the Digital World

This  UNICEF State of the Worlds Children report “surveys the landscape of digital opportunity as it relates to – and affects – children. It examines the digital divides that prevent millions of children from accessing through the internet new opportunities to learn and, someday, to participate in the digital economy, helping to break intergenerational cycles of poverty.” (2017)

World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends 

This report summarizes both the promises and challenges of the digital revolution, documenting the role of digital technology in promoting development across a number of areas relevant to youth, including employment, livelihoods, eHealth, and education. While not specifically focused on youth, this report provides essential general background on the potential influence of technology on development outcomes (2016).

Mobile Phone and Social Media Interventions for Youth Development Outcomes

This document reviews the literature on evidence on youth mobilization and technology and illustrates the effect of this through case studies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The results suggest that interventions using mobile phone and/or social media interventions with youth can improve development outcomes for: a) accountability and transparency such as through (such as education or SRHR) c) promoting positive lifestyle choices and behavioral change, and d) supporting humanitarian service delivery in crisis situations (2015).

mHealth as a Tool for Integrated Systems Strengthening in Sexual and Reproductive Health Programming

This technical brief synthesizes Pathfinder’s experience using mHealth to strengthen linkages between health systems and communities globally, focusing particularly on integrated systems strengthening in reproductive health programs in four countries: Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Haiti. As more organizations move to use mHealth within the community, their experience provides valuable insight for global learning – in addition to a summary of experiences in different settings, the report provides recommendations for using mHealth as a tool to support solutions to complex community and health system interventions (2015).

Trends in ICTs for Youth Workforce Development 

This report discusses the benefits and challenges of using information and communications technologies (ICTs) in youth workforce development projects. The report reviews the literature on this connection and analyzes 17 workforce development training programs that have incorporated ICTs to highlight current trends and provide guidance for programmers and policy-makers who seek to incorporate technology into their projects (2014).

YouthLens 38: Mobile Technology for Health

Description:  Global mobile phone use is rapidly increasing and a large percentage of mobile phone subscribers are young people. Many programs are capitalizing on their ubiquity as a novel way to reach young people with important health information, and research is beginning to demonstrate that mobile phones are a feasible means of mass communication for this population. This YouthLens shares results from recent research and lessons learned from programs in this field (2013).