IGF 2020 WS #92 Setting Children's Rights in the Internet Governance Agenda

Time
Monday, 16th November, 2020 (12:20 UTC) - Monday, 16th November, 2020 (13:50 UTC)
Room
Room 1
About this Session
The roundtable "Setting Children's Rights in the Internet Governance Agenda: balancing risks and opportunities" will share recent knowledge on young people’s online practices around the world and design strategies to address children’s rights in the digital age. Although one third of all Internet users globally are under 18 (Unicef, 2019), most regulatory instruments for promoting human rights and data protection do not present specific recommendations aimed at this age group.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Fabio Senne, NIC.br/Cetic.br
Organizer 2: Alexandre Barbosa, NIC.br
Organizer 3: Ana Laura Martinez, Nic.br

Speaker 1: Sonia Livingstone, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Guilherme Canela Godoi , Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: AMANDA THIRD, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Maria Alejandra Trossero, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Patricio Cabello, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Moderator

Fabio Senne, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Ana Laura Martinez, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Rapporteur

Ana Laura Martinez, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Format

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

The main policy question at the roundtable will be how to balance risks and opportunities online for children taking into consideration different sociocultural contexts. Among the specific topics to be discussed are: -How can children’s rights to participation, access to information, and freedom of speech be preserved and balanced with their right to be protected from violence, hate speech, exploitation and sexual abuse in the online environment? -How different stakeholders, including children themselves, perceive the balance between risks and opportunities? How can the gender perspective be integrated into the children´s rights perspective for such matters? -How can the evidence available on children's practices online support decision-makers implementing policies that balance risks and opportunities? -How can children´s resilience and participation be increased by means of capacity building, media literacy, support and guidance in the digital environment? -How can children’s rights be embedded in the activities and policies of international Internet governance institutions? -What multi-stakeholder collaboration arrangements have been put in place in the regions represented in the panel, and with what outcomes?

There is considerable debate about when or how children’s rights, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, may be realized or infringed in the digital age (Unicef, 2019). Recent evidence on children’s engagement with the online environment shows that the more children use the Internet, the more skills they develop and the more activities they can undertake. Simultaneously, the better digital literacy and safety skills children have, the more they engage in riskier online activities (Livingstone, 2020). The balance between opportunities and risks is among the main challenges for policymaking and regulation in this field, especially considering that the scenario is even more nuanced due to the emergence of new technological applications based on the use of personal data and artificial intelligence. This happens not just because of the different priorities among stakeholders, but also due to disparities of social and cultural contexts between regions and countries. The roundtable is intended to address these issues by framing children’s rights as principles for decision-making among stakeholders, including the participation of children as an active voice on this debate. Another relevant opportunity highlighted by this discussion is the inclusion of sound evidence from research and children consultations to support the implementation of policies to protect children’s rights globally and at the national level. Continued data collection about children’s online experiences on a wider scale is imperative to make governments, parents, teachers, and everyone else concerned with children’s well-being in a better position to respond to upcoming challenges (Unicef, 2019).

SDGs

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description:

OBJECTIVES The roundtable "Setting Children's Rights in the Internet Governance Agenda: balancing risks and opportunities" will share recent knowledge on young people’s online practices around the world and design strategies to address children’s rights in the digital age. Although one third of all Internet users globally are under 18 (Unicef, 2019), most regulatory instruments for promoting human rights and data protection do not present specific recommendations aimed at this age group. Besides that, there is still no consensus on how to balance protection from online risks without restricting the opportunities made available by digital inclusion, such as access to information and freedom of expression. The panel will mobilize the most updated evidence on how children use the Internet and the impacts of those practices on specific rights presented by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) – such as access to information, freedom of expression and other civil rights, privacy and protection from harm. The presentations count on the expertise of consolidated multistakeholder research networks in the field (Global Kids Online, EU Kids Online, Latin American Kids Online, UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators and children’s consultation to inform the UNCRC), that have conducted representative research with children and parents in around 40 countries. METHODOLOGY AND FACILITATION STRATEGY Each speaker will be previously briefed to prepare a short presentation based on the policy questions, and bringing a regional and sectoral perspective. Second, speakers and the audience will be invited to interact to design specific recommendations for affecting national policies on children’s rights. Children and young people will also be encouraged to participate at this point. Finally, an action plan among the different networks will be formulated and disseminated by the stakeholders engaged in the panel. Other members of the networks dedicated to research on online children and to advocating for online children´s protection and promotion, like Global Kids Online and Latin America Kids Online, will participate remotely in the panel discussions. SPEAKERS •Sonia Livingstone (LSE, UK) •Guilherme Canela (UNESCO) •Alejandra Trossero (UNICEF) •Patricio Cabello (Universidad de Chile, Chile) •Amanda Third (Western Sydney University, Australia) •Representative from a private sector online platform (TBC) Moderation: Fabio Senne (Cetic.br/NIC.br, Brazil)

Expected Outcomes

The main outcome of the panel is to design specific recommendations for including children in the core of national children’s protection public policies and strategies developed by the private sector. It is expected to raise awareness on the need for sound evidence to support policies in the field, and strengthen already existing research networks. Another outcome is the implementation of policies based on the data available, which is one of the results expected by the UNESCO Internet Universality Indicators and the Kids Online networks. Despite focusing on issues related to Trust, the panel agenda is also connected to other thematic tracks, such as “Inclusion” and “Data”.

Interaction will be encouraged: a) Between speakers invited. Speakers will be encouraged to ask each other at least one question, in addition to answering the moderator´s and audience´s questions. b) Between speakers and the audience. The audience will be able to intervene after each round of discussion. Questions will be made in real time. Members of the audience (including children and young people), who prefer to do so, will be able to send the moderator written questions as well. c) From remote participants. Questions and comments from the online participation official platform and other social media (Twitter) will be compiled by a designated team member, and read right after every round of questions from the onsite audience.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Since children constitute a population with very specific developmental characteristics, vulnerabilities and rights, this proposal aims to bring children´s rights to a focus within the Internet Governance agenda. By bringing together researchers, policymakers and the children´s voice to the table, the proposed roundtable is rooted in a multi-stakeholder perspective, with the added value of organizing the discussion on an evidence-based approach, including the children’s own voice. By stimulating the discussion about challenges and recommendations for a safer digital inclusion, the proposed roundtable is also relevant to Internet Governance by pointing out feasible courses of action.

Relevance to Theme: Child online safety is among the main issues addressed by the thematic track devoted to “Trust”. The proposed roundtable will discuss not just specific policies and regulations aimed at creating a safer Internet environment for children – which includes protection from online risks and harms –, but also how digital skills can improve children’s resilience and empowerment to cope with those risks. By discussing how children’s rights can be guaranteed in a digital age, the roundtable will inform how to promote trust in the digital environments and how future Internet users can be part of the change. The proposal is also integrated with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Guaranteeing opportunities for digital inclusion and lifelong learning, as expressed by SDG 4, cannot be achieved without gender equity and without meeting the gender-specific challenges faced by child Internet users; thus the direct relation of the proposed panel with SDGs 4 and 5. Moreover, keeping children safe and healthy, as expressed in SDG 3, is among the most important goals for children in the SDGs, and it entails considering threats and opportunities posed by the online environment. Finally, ending violence against children by 2030 includes ending sexual abuse, harassment and hate speech both offline and online, something that is, in turn, key to achieving peaceful and inclusive societies, as expressed by SDG 16.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: A moderator will be organizing the remote participation in the online tool and will be answering questions, commenting with the participants, and he will bring some of the comments or questions to the panelists and present audience.

 

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
How to balance risks and opportunities online for children taking into consideration different sociocultural contexts?
How can children’s rights to participation, access to information, and freedom of speech be preserved and balanced with their right to be protected from violence, hate speech, exploitation and sexual abuse in the online environment?
How different stakeholders, including children themselves, perceive the balance between risks and opportunities?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Although roughly 1/3 of all Internet users are under 18 (according to UNICEF), most regulatory instruments for promoting human rights and data protection do not present specific recommendations aimed at this group.  There is no consensus on how to balance protection from on line abuse without restricting opportunities made available by digital inclusion such as access to information and freedom of expression.

Children's rights do apply online as offline, even though the digital environment is profoundly reconfiguring the expression of rights, the array of rights and rights infringements thar children experience.There is a challenge on how to operationalize online children´s rights, as stated by the Convention of the Rights of the child, which was crafted before the Internet.

There is broad consesus on the need for including sound evidence from research to support the implementation of those policies and to protect children's rights globally and at the national level, with a focus on including children´s own voices.   

6. Final Speakers

Speaker 1: Sonia Livingstone, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Guilherme Canela Godoi , Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Amanda Third, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Maria Alejandra Trossero, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Patricio Cabello, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Gender issues were discussed as part of the differentiated challenges facing boys and girls in their digital lives, and the need to address them in the programs and policies aimed at setting their rights. 

10. Voluntary Commitment

The speakers did not express their voluntary commitments during the event; they were offered the link to do so.