Children’s rights and protection on the internet – Flash 12 2017

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7 June 2017 | 16:00-16:30 | Room Tornimäe I, Swissotel, Tallinn, Estonia
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Session teaser

When shifting between offline and online environment, are our rights on automatic update setting? And what about children, who represent a third of the current internet users worldwide, are they properly empowered to make use of their rights? Enhancing children's protection through information and communication technologies is a top concern for various international organisations, both at the European and global level. However, along with technological developments, it seems that for children going online, the system often lacks proper provision and participation frameworks. In this flash session we will highlight how research evidence, best practices and awareness raising campaigns can support children’s rights and safety on the internet and how they can be brought to the attention in a call for action for a wide variety of stakeholders.

Keywords

online safety, children’s rights, media literacy, freedom of expression, positive content, youth empowerment

Session description

Enhancing children's protection through information and communication technologies is a top concern for various international organisations, both at the European and global level. In this flash session we will highlight how research evidence, best practices and awareness raising campaigns can support children’s rights and safety on the internet and how they can be brought to the attention in a call for action for a wide variety of stakeholders.

Jutta Croll will open the session, introducing to the topic of children’s rights in the digital environment. In 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC) was adopted by the United Nations. The Convention is meant to grant special protection to young people under the age of eighteen. Coinciding with the elaboration process of the UN-CRC, Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web at the CERN Research Centre in Geneva. Today more than 3 billion people worldwide are connected to the web and are using online services on a regular basis, one third of them being under the age of eighteen and thus children in terms of the UN-CRC. The agreements of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are related to all areas of lives. They grant certain rights to children and set a regulatory framework to warrant that entitlement. For some paragraphs, for instance the right to freedom of expression (Art. 13) and the right to access to information (Art. 17), the impact that digitisation has on the availment of the rights defined therein is obvious. For other paragraphs it is necessary to scrutinise what consequences the digital environment of children has on exercising their rights to freedom and protection.

From a European perspective, Sabrina Vorbau and Fiorella Belciu (from European Schoolnet) will put the spotlight on Better Internet for Kids (European Commission funded project) and Safer Internet Day (its landmark campaign), as two key examples of best practices at European (and even global) level on supporting children’s rights and protection on the internet.

Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), European Schoolnet is developing and maintaining – on behalf of the European Commission – a Better Internet for Kids (BIK) core service platform to share resources, services and practices between national providers of the services – the European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) – and to provide services to their users, including industry. In line with the European Commission's Better Internet for Kids strategy, the key vision behind the BIK core service platform is to create a better internet for children and young people. In more practical terms, it is our mission is to foster – through the BIK core service platform – the exchange of knowledge, expertise, resources and best practices between key online safety stakeholders, including industry, in order to increase access to high-quality content for children and young people, step up awareness and empowerment, create a safe environment for children online, and fight against child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation.

Over the years, Safer Internet Day (SID) has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide, and across all continents. From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns..

Format

15 min presentation, 15 min Q&A; Introduction by Jutta Croll, focusing on UN Convention on the rights of the child, highlighting the rights that need to be adapted to the requirements of the digital environment. After this introduction, representatives of the Better Internet for Kids line of work will bring to the discussion examples of strategies and best practices of strengthening media literacy and positive content sharing online, for children and young people, but also their teachers, parents or carers

Further reading

People

  • Jutta Croll (Digitale Chancen)
  • Sabrina Vorbau (European Schoolnet)
  • Fiorella Belciu (European Schoolnet)
  • Insafe Safer Internet Centre representative(s)
  • Youth panellists (from Safer Internet Centres)