Policy Guidance on AI for Children piloted in different parts of the world

Policy Guidance on AI for Children, developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF in partnership with Finland, was piloted by companies and public sector operators around the world during 2021. The second version of the guidance will be drafted on the basis of the results of the piloting and published in November 2021.

Boy uses a digital drawing board
Photo: Sakari Piippo

UNICEF and Finland have been collaborating to create internationally applicable policy guidance for the use and development of artificial intelligence (AI) for children. The policy guidance has been piloted in different parts of the world, including in Finland, where the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) and a Finnish start-up company, Someturva, have participated in the testing.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs supports the project, where practices are developed for the planning of safe and inclusive AI solutions that take the rights of the child into account. The second draft of the policy guidance, developed based on the results of the piloting, will be published in November 2021.

In Finland, HUS developed Milli, an AI-powered chatbot at Mielenterveystalo.fi and Someturva expanded its SomeBuddy service.

The guidance has been tested not only in Finland but also, for example, in Sweden, the UK, Japan, Malta, Chile, the United States, Rwanda, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.


AI solutions must be transparent


Children form a growing user group of digital services. They spend their leisure time on mobile devices and go online to seek information about matters that are important for them. This matter should often be taken into account when services are planned, and children must be told how the services work in a manner that is easy for them to understand.

“If AI solutions do not take children into account, children’s human rights, such as the right to privacy, are at risk,” says Eija-Leena Koponen, social security expert at Someturva.

UNICEF’s Policy Guidance on AI for Children provides a framework for planning safe and child-friendly AI solutions. It has taught those involved in the piloting phase that AI solutions must be transparent.

“UNICEF’s policy guidance provides a very useful checklist that companies utilising AI could follow when assessing their activities. The guidance is an easy way to ensure the safety of children and young people and it is subject to continuing development,” says nurse Sini Hussein from the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

UNICEF has consulted also experts in AI and child protection specialists.


Read more about the global Policy Guidance on AI for Children on the website of the  Ministry for Foreign Affairs.