List of Proposed Workshops
<< Start < Prev 88/141 Next > End >>

Workshop Proposals 2011


Workshop Number: 2 Jump to report

Title: Digital Citizenship - a charter of children's and young people's rights in the online world

Background paper: No Background Paper Uploaded


Concise Description:
The internet is a social space in which families with children are one of the key and not the least important constituency of users.

A number of excellent "cyber charters" have emerged in recent years. They seek to embody a comprehensive framework of rights and guarantees whilst at the same time laying a foundation for good online citizenship.

But few seem to recognize that families, children and young people are now also a constant presence on the internet. On the contrary the underlying assumption appears to be that every single internet user is a literate adult of at least average intelligence.

How do we construct a framework of rights which preserves all the highly valued freedoms of the internet for the adult world but at the same time provides an appropriate and proportionate response to the needs of younger users? And how do young people themselves view this debate?

Which of the five broad IGF Themes or the Cross-Cutting Priorities does your workshop fall under?
Access and Diversity

Have you organized an IGF workshop before? Yes
If so, please provide the link to the report:

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite:
Remote moderator: Marie Bach Drivsholm, Save the Children, Denmark
Chair: Agnieszka Wrzesien, Nobody's Children Foundation, Poland

John Carr, Executive Board eNACSO, Denmark
Anjan Bose, ECPAT International, Bangkok
Janice Richardson, INSAFE, Belgium
Ann Collier, Connect Safely, USA
Brian O'Neil, EU Kids Online, Dublin IT, Ireland
Rita Munyae, Programme Assistant, Childline Kenya
David Odongo, Call Centre Manager, Childline Kenya
Cornelia Kutterer, Microsoft, EMEA

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups:
European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online. eNACSO works closely with children's organizations across Europe and in other parts of the world. We also engage in several policy making forums with Government and industry both globally and at a European level.

Organization:European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online

Contact Person: Morthen Jahnsen

Reported by: John Carr

Report upload: No Report Uploaded

A brief substantive summary and the main events that were raised:
A background paper was published in advance of the workshop. It can be found at this address:

Charters of citizens’ online rights were beginning to appear with increasing regularity. One of those most in evidence at the Nairobi IGF had been published by the “Internet Rights & Principles Coalition”. It was noted that this document made no mention at all of children and young people.

In many of the discussions that were taking place on this issue of citizens’ online rights the usually unspoken, working assumption appeared to be that every internet user possessed, at least, average intelligence, average literacy, average numeracy, had attained an average level of education and was blessed with average eyesight, average hearing, average manual dexterity and that in every country they could read the language of the locally dominant linguistic group. This is self-evidently not the case. The debate on rights need to reflect reality or it will soon be seen to be irrelevant.

Moreover it was important that under international law, most notably the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children and young people were rights holders. They are not supplicants asking for companies or Governments to grant them anything the law does not confer as a right.

Is the concept of “digital rights” in any event a very useful one? Children and young people do not see the internet as being separate and distinct from the real world. Rather the internet is part of their real world. The rules of citizenship which apply in the real world apply equally to the online world. The words used to describe them might have to be different because the space in which the conversation is taking place is different but in every other way the underlying principles are the same.

In Kenya an overriding concern was the digital divide: bridging the gap between the haves and the have nots. Mobile seemed to be the way in which the technology would be diffused in Kenya as well as much of Africa.

Conclusions and further comments:
There were challenges and tensions between the rights of children and the rights of adults. A balanced and proportionate way needs to be found to navigate this path. However it is a common misconception that all children and young people were equally adept and knowledgeable when it came to the digital environment. A lot of people, including children and young people, are using applications without fully understanding them. Protection and empowerment are not mutually exclusive concepts. And we should never forget that wisdom is not the same as knowledge.