Real-time Measurement for
Child Online Safety and Digital Citizenship

COSI Level

Below Average Average Above Average

Reached via #DQEveryChild but country data is inconclusive



Real-Time Measure for Country’s Child Online Safety

The Child Online Safety Index (COSI), the world-first real-time measure to help nations better understand their children’s online safety status.

The 2020 COSI is based on data collected from 145,426 children and adolescents in 30 different countries from 2017-2019 as part of the #DQEveryChild initiative.

Linked with DQ assessment tools and its global database, COSI will be automatically updated as the countries progress with their child online safety and digital citizenship initiatives.

Read the Press Release

The COSI Framework

The Child Online Safety Index (COSI) measures the level of online safety for children across the world based on six pillars: Cyber Risks, Disciplined Digital Use, Digital Competency, Guidance & Education, Social Infrastructure, and Connectivity. Each of these pillars are formed by 2-8 focused areas, allowing for a comprehensive assessment of online safety for children. A COSI score was calculated for each country ranging from 0 (the worst online safety for children) to 100 (the best online safety for children).

The 6 Pillars of COSI


Assesses whether children are exposed to cyber risks such as cyber-bullying, risky contacts, or disordered use of technology


Assesses whether children are spending excessive amounts of time with electronic devices and media


Assesses whether children have digital skills, such as digital empathy and digital footprint management, that minimize cyber risks and allow them to be good digital citizens


Assesses whether children are supported by the guidance of caregivers and school education about online safety


Assesses whether governments and industries operate in ways that protect children from cyber risks


Assesses whether children can access the internet with sufficient speeds

Country Level Reports

Country Average      Global Average
Summary Singapore Global
Rank Score Average Score
Overall DQ 4 66 42
Cyber Risks 12 61 50
Disciplined Digital Use 6 75 49
Digital Competency 7 79 51
Guidance & Education 11 70 52
Social Infrastructure 19 34 51
Connectivity 1 95 50
Disordered Use of Technology
Risky Content
Risky Contacts
Cyber Threats
Reputational Risks

Cyberbullying measures whether children have been bullied or have bullied others online

Based on three indicators:

  • The frequency of children and adolescents’ involvement with cyberbullying activities
  • The frequency of children and adolescents’ involvement with cyber-victimization activities
  • The percentage of children and adolescents affected by cyberbullying

Higher scores indicate lower levels of Cyberbullying

The Development of COSI

Two years ago, on Safer Internet Day (6th February 2018), the 2018 DQ Impact Report was published in association with the World Economic Forum. That initial report examined online safety and digital citizenship among 38,000 8- to 12-year-olds across 29 countries. Our key finding at that time was that 56% of children were exposed to at least one cyber risk (including risks like cyberbullying, gaming disorder, offline meeting with strangers, and online sexual behaviors). This report created an impetus to expand and deepen our knowledge of the risks children face, as well as what resources act as protective factors.

In the two years following, we have broadened our vision and increased our measurements to examine six major pillars of support for children’s online safety. This 2020 COSI compares the results across 30 countries, and includes data from over 145,426 children, as well as from other external sources such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), Economist Intelligence Unit, and others. Learn more about our key findings and methodology in our full report below.

COSI is dedicated to monitoring trends in Child Online Safety around the world with real-time updates. We invite the academic research and expert communities to work together with us to further improve COSI. We especially welcome suggestions of how COSI can become more relevant to researchers’ own countries. If interested, please contact us at partnership@dqinstitute.org.

“We’ve been supporting this important work ever since the #DQEveryChild global movement was launched at the Global Education & Skills Forum in 2017. The Child Online Safety Index that has emerged as a result is a vital piece of research and my fervent hope is that policy makers around the world will act upon its findings.”
- Sunny Varkey
Founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize
“The Child Online Safety Index shows young people need more resources to stay safe online around the world, which is why IBM is contributing to this important work with our recently released "Let's Talk Safe Tech" initiative which aims to educate young people about best practices in cybersecurity at no cost,” said Guillermo Miranda, Global Head of IBM Corporate Social Responsibility. “The DQ Institute is paving the way for us to understand more about the important benchmarks for cybersafety, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on our shared mission to improve the online safety of youth everywhere.”
-Guillermo Miranda
Global head of IBM Corporate Social Responsibility
“A full half of the global population is under 30. While the young population has grown by almost 140 million over the past 20 years, so too has youth unemployment. I welcome the work of DQ Institute as a way to provide evidence on how the power of ICTs can create the world that we want. A world where everyone, no matter where they live, what their gender or what language they speak, has access to the same basic rights and opportunities. A world where every young person has the chance to prosper and realize his or her dreams.”
-Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, International Telecommunication Union
“Every year, JA Worldwide prepares millions of global youth with the employment and entrepreneurship skills they need to thrive right now and in the future. In this fast-moving and complex age of technology, developing digital skills couldn’t be more important. That’s why we’re proud to partner with DQ Institute to integrate training and assessment of young people’s digital quotient (DQ) into our core programmes.”
-Asheesh Advani
CEO of JA Worldwide
“As a 16-year participant in Safer Internet Day, Microsoft is pleased to support the inaugural release of the DQ Institute’s Child Online Safety Index (COSI). Helping to protect children on the internet is part of our longstanding work to promote a safer online environment for all, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the DQ Institute and others to encourage greater civility and kindness in all digital interactions.”
-Jacqueline Beauchere
Global Digital Safety Advocate, Microsoft
“In an increasingly digitised world, child online safety is more important than ever and I applaud the work of the DQ Institute in raising awareness of this important aspect of our society.”
-Peter Estlin
Chairman, FutureDotNow.uk
“A long-awaited blueprint to guide governments, private companies, parents and teachers to effectively creating safer online environment for children. The latest masterpiece from Dr. Park and her team.”
-Somchai Lertsutiwong
CEO, Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited, Thailand
“Singtel believes firmly in the education and promotion of responsible digital citizenship. We are honoured to have been involved in the development and implementation of the DQ framework right from the beginning.”
Singtel Vice President of Group Corporate Social Responsibility
-Mr Andrew Buay
-Ms Irina Bokova
Former UNESCO Director-General
“ DQInstitute does outstanding work in promoting digital citizenship for children and parents!”
“DQ World is a quality curriculum packed with fun-filled activities for children to learn digital citizenship skills. Through this program, we impart values and build the character of our children so that they can be equipped for safer use of technology.”
-Mr James Tan
Chief Executive Officer of TOUCH Community Services

What are digital competencies for the future?

What is the impact of digital media and technology on children and its implication to national and global society?

What are effective ways to provide safe and creative digital education eco-system for all children around the world?

DQ Institute adopts an evidence-based and data-based approach. DQ metrics were developed through data analytic research through multi-national studies based on a multi-disciplinary approach.

We invite researchers, educators, and organizations around the world to tackle these issues to be part of our DQ Research Network.

The Impact.
In 2018, the #DQEveryChild movement spearheaded by the DQ Institute in association with the World Economic Forum superseded all expectations and continues to make impact around the world.
80+ Countries
1,000,000+ Children
100+ Partners
21 Languages


Research and Reports

Key Projects
  • 2019 Global Standards Report
  • 2018 Global DQ Impact Report
  • 2017 Efficacy of the Help-Reporting System
  • Online Counselling DQ Studies
  • 2016 Singapore DQ Pilot Study
  • DQ World Methodology
  • DQ World Webpage
  • 2018 Nature Outlook
  • 2016 DQ Institute White Paper
2019 Global Standards Report

For the world to build comprehensive digital competencies with speed, scalability, and sustainability, there is an urgent need for effective coordination and consensus towards building a common framework with a set of definitions, structure, and taxonomy. In this report, we present the DQ Framework as the solution. Read more here:

2018 Global DQ Impact Report

On Safer Internet Day (6th February 2018), the 2018 DQ Impact Report was published in association with the World Economic Forum. As part of our #DQEveryChild movement to empower children with digital intelligence (DQ), the multinational report delved into the current state of online safety and digital citizenship among 38,000 8-12 year olds across 29 countries. In particular, we focused on how children became exposed to cyber-risks and how these risks may affect them.  

Our key finding, that 56% of 8-12 year olds are exposed to at least one cyber-risk (including risks like cyberbullying and online grooming), is particularly revealing of the work that lies ahead for all of us in the creation of an ethical digital ecosystem for this generation of digital natives.  

The full report and more information can be found below:

• The World Economic Forum – Impact Page, Blog, Video and Press Release

2017 Efficacy of the Help-Reporting System

In the 2016 DQ Pilot Impact Study, about 60% of children who were exposed to cyber-victimization wanted extra help to handle their cyber issues. A 2015 DQ e-counselling study conducted by the National Institute of Education, Singapore also revealed that timely intervention is critical to improve emotional well-being of children who are exposed to cyber-risks.

From September 2017, DQWorld.netTM will include a unique help-reporting system to detect a child’s exposure to various cyber-risks and provide opportunities to proactively intervene to help at-risk child.

The study will be conducted to understand its effectiveness through Private-Public Partnership in Singapore and Australia:

• Singapore: Singtel (private) – National Council of Social Service (public) – TOUCH Cyber Wellness, Feiyue (civil society) 
• Australia: via Optus (Singtel) and Kids Helpline Strategic Corporate Partnership – collaboration and knowledge sharing



Online Counselling DQ Studies

A 2017 DQ online counselling study conducted by the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore revealed that lack of nonverbal cues enhanced children’s psychological safety and willingness to self-disclose online. TCPs also found it helpful to use a solution-focused approach to work with children and to adapt their face-to-face counselling techniques to online counselling through the use of SITCOMS (Skills in Text-based Communication).
Find the study here: https://doi.org/10.18401/2017.7.2.3

A 2018 DQ e-counselling study also conducted by NIE revealed that online counselling helped children find solutions as well as support for their emotional and practical needs.
Find the study here: https://doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2018.1485871


2016 Singapore DQ Pilot Study


The DQ online education program was developed through a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University and infollutionZERO with support from the Inter-Ministry of Cyber Wellness Steering Committee and Singtel in Singapore. The 2016 Singapore DQ Pilot Impact Study involved 2218 8-12 year old children and was successfully conducted to understand the efficacy and impact of the DQ online program to enhance children’s DQ skills and improve their attitudes and behaviors against cyber risks.

The results were highlighted at the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting that was held in Davos, Switzerland found here.

Check out Our 2016 DQ Impact Report (Part 2):
The Top 8 Empowerments of DQ Education

Minimise Risky Online Behaviors

By increasing the DQ Score, DQ World minimises risky behaviours online and maximises future-ready skills including critical thinking and empathy of children aged 8–12.


Figure: DQ Score:

Maximise Future-Ready Skills

Higher parental and teacher engagement – through active facilitation and performance tracking – achieved greater improvements in DQ.

Figure: DQ Empathy:



Highly significant correlation (R=0.583, p-value <0.001) between DQ score and empathy. Note: DQ Score in this graph is the average of the scores of digital citizen identity, screen time management, cyber bullying management, cyber security management, critical thinking, digital footprint management and privacy management.

Figure: DQ Global Citizenship:



Highly significant correlation (R=0.619,p-value<0.001) between DQ score and global citizenship.

Figure: DQ Critical Thinking:


Highly signficant correlation (R=0.719,p-value<0.001) between DQ and critical thinking skills. Note: DQ Score in this graph is the average of the scores of digital citizen identity, screen time management, cyber bullying management, cyber security management, digital empathy, digital footprint management and privacy management.
DQ World Methodology

DQ World is an innovative research-based, e-learning platform that is specifically designed for young users of digital media and technology. The online educational platform has been recognized by two UNESCO awards for its pioneering efforts to promote digital citizenship education among children. DQ World’s approach is pioneering in the sense that it has transformed how nations approach digital education. Indeed, more and more school programs are incorporating technology in a variety of ways: some use computers in the classroom, some make online assistance available to children, and some teach coding and even robotics.

Basic digital citizenship skills, however, are often overlooked by educators and parents despite being fundamental to a person’s ability to get the most out of technology and to avoid risks. One reason for this gap is that teachers themselves have not been trained in the area of digital citizenship education, and they are already over-burdened with other teaching needs and requirements. Therefore, any comprehensive program needs to either (1) include training for teachers and fit in within the curriculum, or (2) provide training directly to students with only basic support needed from teachers. DQ World is based on this second approach, and is a compatible with a wide variety of learning environments.


DQ World Webpage

Jointly developed with top institutions including Nanyang Technological University, DQ World is a world leading online education platform to teach children ages 8-12 the 8 Digital Citizenship Skills. It empowers them to become informed and discerning digital citizens.

Visit DQ World at https://www.dqworld.net today!

2018 Nature Outlook

This article published in Nature Outlook on October 2018 outlines exactly how DQ can help address the need for digital intelligence.


To find out more, read the article below:
2016 DQ Institute White Paper

We are living in a renaissance period of new digital media and technologies that are reshaping the world around us. A wide and growing cross-section of the world’s population has become immersed in this hyper-connected digital world, in turn transforming the ways we communicate and interact. At the same time, as digital media and technology become an indispensable part of our daily lives, there is growing concern that we are losing control as our dependence on technology grows. Digital issues caused by this 24/7 hyper-connected culture –including technology addiction, cyberbullying, online sexual behaviors, cybercrimes, online privacy concerns – are proliferating and significantly impact daily life.

As such, there is a global imperative to empower children to become good digital citizens who are smart and responsible users of technology – avoiding harmful and risky activities while maximizing the benefits of technology use. In order to address this urgent need, the Digital Intelligence concept was developed. Digital intelligence or “DQ” is a set of skills needed to meet the demands and challenges of the digital world, including digital citizenship and literacy skills.