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IGF 2019 How to balance children's right to play and to be protected.


Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min


Video content now constitutes 60% of all internet traffic and the proportion continues to grow. “Gaming is becoming a significant force in traffic volume as gaming downloads, Twitch streaming, and professional gaming go mainstream” (Sandvine Report, October, 2018) Estimates suggest that “7.8% of all internet traffic is linked to gaming , including downloads from major gaming networks (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Steam, Nintendo, etc.) as well as traffic from specific games. The actual “gaming” traffic on the network when downloads are included is likely higher than 7.8% due to marketplace downloads (ibid). Sales of games on physical formats such as DVDs have all but disappeared as gaming has become a distinct and important subset of global internet activity yet gaming has remained largely outside the scope of discussions on internet governance and the search for widely applicable standards which uphold universally recognised rights. The disappearance of physical formats e.g. the sale of DVDs has also resulted in the loss of a potential source of control or authority in relation to specified age limits for games as well as a loss of potential sources of advice and guidance e.g. from the sales staff in the shops. Children have a right to play (Art. 31, UN-CRC) and the online environment is now a key arena within which that right is exercised. The benefits to young people of being able to engage with the kind of rich environments which games can create seem to be indisputable. Yet there is a never- ending stream of reports about harms to children arising from online gaming. While games are designed to engage users there is little evidence of measures being taken to guard against excessive use. What care is being taken by games providers to ensure age inappropriate content or themes are not included in games which attract younger children? Parents are often not aware of the nature of the online environments which the games establish, where children interact and communicate with perhaps a great many other people they do not know and the children themselves do not know. What care is being taken to ensure malevolent individuals, paedophiles or bullies, are not being given easy access to children in environments where the possibility of parental supervision or support is, for practical purposes, either wholly non-existent or extremely limited? How should this be reflected against Art. 34 UN-CRC, protection from sexual abuse) What care is being taken to ensure gaming is not a soft introduction to or a pathway towards gambling? How are ever more immersive games likely to impact on the quality of children’s lives as augmented reality and virtual reality technologies continue to improve and become incorporated into larger numbers of games? Children’s gaming behaviour, their interaction with others, the duration of their usage, and the daytime of gaming activities are recorded when gaming online. How can it be ensured these data are not exploited for commercial purpose? Is enough being done to safeguard children from different forms of commercial exploitation (Art. 36 UN-CRC), including being exposed to advertising which they would not otherwise encounter because of regulatory limitations imposed in other environments? The Dynamic Coalition meeting will consider what governance mechanisms could be developed to draw the gaming industry into the discussions on children’s rights, in particular their right to play and their right to protection from inappropriate, illegal and bullying behaviours as well as their right to be protected from sexual abuse and commercial exploitation. Agenda 5 Min. Introduction to the theme 25 Min. Input from the speakers (5-7 Min each) 50 Min. Discussion with DC COS members and participants to the session 10 Min. Wrap up and conclusions Expected Outcome: Recommendations for politics and the private sector in regard of regulation and self-regulation measures in order to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child Recommendations for carers and parents in regard of respecting the rights of the child and enabling their children to cope with potential risk and harm


Marie-laure Lemineur, ECPAT International


Moderator: Jutta Croll, Digital Opportunities Foundation, Germany Speakers: 1-Ellen Blackler, Disney (tbc) 2-Emily Cashman Kirstein, Thorn 3-Clement Leong (aka “Stinky”), games developer, former professional gamer 4-Researcher in games and /or childhood development expert


GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411