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Protecting Child Safety AND Child Rights

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No. 1 Protecting Child Safety AND Child Rights

Larry Magid


IGF 2014 sub theme that this workshop fall under

Enhancing Digital Trust


This a follow up to session 202 from 2013 where we explored the conflict between child protection and child rights. Now it's time to move on to show how both rights and safety can be protected. It is relevant to Internet governance because children are stakeholders who are often left out of discussions.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that children "shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds." Yet, it is generally agreed that some information, such as pornography, can be harmful to some children. But some efforts to protect children may go too far, such as blocking access to social media as is the case in many schools and some entire countries. This workshop will explore how governments, schools, NGOs and companies can find way to protect children from harm while also protecting their civil rights and right of free expression.

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Dr. Larry Magid
ConnnectSafely.org (an NGO)

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE 2013 session report is on a different site because the IGF site wouldn't accept the report

Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


The link to the workshop report


Type of session


Duration of proposed session

90 minutes

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#safety, #rights, #childrights, #freespeech

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of speakers the proposer is planning to invite

Harriet Kempson, Youth participant, Childnet International. Confirmed

Eleanor Lee. Youth participant, Childnet International. Confirmed

Janice Richardson, InSafe (and European Commissioner) NGO -- Brussels. Have contacted and confirmed

Heba Ramzy, Private sector. Microsoft's Istanbul office. Confirmed

John Carr -- Children's Charity -- London (NGO) -- Contacted and confirmed

Nevine Tewfik -- Ministry of Information -- Egypt (Government) Contacted and confirmed

Name of Moderator(s)

Larry Magid

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Jim Prendergast

Description of how the proposer plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

Will ask each speaker 1 question and allow them to interact. Plan to allow lots of time for audience and remote interaction.

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

Dr. Larry Magid (www.larrymagid.com) is a very experienced moderator who is good at interacting with panelists and audience. He also has a very large social media following (>150K) and publishes in numerous places on a regular basis. Will promote the session in advance using extensive editorial and social media network on Huffington Post, Forbes.com and CNET as well as ConnectSafely.org SafeKids.com, LarrysWorld.com and Twitter and Facebook.

Background paper

No background paper provided

Brief substantive summary of the workshop and presentation of the main issues that were raised during the discussions

The workshop began by how specific articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child applied to both online protections rights and online access and expression rights. The moderator made the point that child are guaranteed the right of free expression in all media, which of course includes the Internet. There was some discussion about the limitation of these rights as it may apply to age inappropriate content as well as the extent to which these rights apply when children are at school (many schools block content and some block social media).

Some panelists suggested that it is appropriate to block certain types of content from children but there was general agreement that as children mature, these blocks can and should be lifted or at least loosened.

There was discussion about a Youth Manifesto from European SchoolNet and its conclusion that youth want digital literacy for both themselves and their parents.

Panelists and audience members raised the issue of privacy for youth in terms of companies, their parents and the government.

There was also discussion about child sex abuse issues. It was generally agreed that this is a law enforcement issue, which is someone separate of other issues regarding online protection but that it should, of course, get priority from governments and legal authorities.

There was also discussion about the potential physical dangers of Internet cafes where children in some developing country gather to gain access. It was generally agreed that communities need to make sure children are not physically harmed at these venues and also agreed that mobile access -- over time -- will reduce the impact of these cafes.

Conclusions drawn from the workshop and possible follow up actions

There were no follow up actions other than to encourage people to continue the discussion.

I think there was a general consensus that it is possible to protect both children’s safety and their rights, though sometimes the two can be at odds with each other. Still, by providing education and adhering to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, stakeholders can increase both the safety of youth and their rights of free expression, participation and privacy.

The overall consensus in the room is that children and youth do have rights not only to protection but of expression as well.

Estimation of the overall number of participants present at the workshop


Estimation of the overall number of women present at the workshop

about half of the participants were women

Extent to that the workshop discuss gender equality and/or women’s empowerment

it was not seen as related to the workshop’s theme and was not raised

A brief summary of the discussions in case that the workshop addressed issues related to gender equality and/or women’s empowerment

Although the workshop did not relate to gender inequality, it did cover issues of youth empowerment which, of course, includes females as well as males.

Reported by

No information provided

Workshop transcript


Youtube video




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