IGF 2021 WS #93
Young people’s participation in IG – What does GC 25 say?

Organizer 1: Torsten Krause, Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk e.V.
Organizer 2: Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
Organizer 3: Cornelia Jonas, Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk e.V. - German Children´s Fund

Speaker 1: AMANDA THIRD, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Folashade Braimoh, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Innocent Adriko, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Philip Jaffe, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Agnieszka Krawczak-Chmielecka, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 6: Jennifer Schrempp, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Torsten Krause, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Jutta Croll, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Marlene Fasolt, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - Circle - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Economic and social inclusion and sustainable development: What is the relationship between digital policy and development and the established international frameworks for social and economic inclusion set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Conventions on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, on the Rights of the Child, and on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? How do policy makers and other stakeholders effectively connect these global instruments and interpretations to national contexts?

In our consultation, we want to focus on the participation rights and opportunities of children in internet governance. On the one hand, we want to show that young people should already be involved in the design of programmes or content on the internet and that their age and experience should also be taken into account in the formulation of declarations and contractual conditions. On the other hand, we want to point out possibilities and ways that can help to promote the participation of young people in digital environments in such a way that differences in use and participation between boys and girls on the internet are minimised.


Targets: An Internet and virtual environments whose tools and programmes are co-developed by children themselves will encourage young people's participation and promote their well-being with them. Children themselves are the experts for their interests, but also for their concerns and problems that they associate with the internet. Involving them in addressing and solving these concerns leads to products and environments that can promote their well-being. It can also help to eliminate and reduce differences in use and participation between boys and girls. Participation thus becomes the key to equality.


A human-rights based approach to Internet Governance needs to take into account the special attention young people merit when it comes to fulfilment of their rights. The perception of children as independent right holders on their own and in parallel their vulnerability led after a long working period to the adoption of the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. In the very same year Tim Berners-Lee developed the code that made the Internet available for everybody. But, no one would have expected then it would become a news board, school, playground, social circle, lobby and negotiation site for nearly every child around the world 30 years later. These developments are addressed by the 25th General Comment to the UN-CRC adopted on March 24th, 2021. The GC raises awareness for states and other stakeholders to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment. One of the guiding principles of the UN-CRC is enshrined in Art. 12 as the “Right to be heard”. Accordingly, children’s perspective shall be respected in all matters and decisions that affect them. It is obvious that any decision taken in regard of the Internet is a matter that affects young people with one in three Internet users around the world being under the age of 18 (Quelle: Livingstone at al. 2016: One in Three. Internet Governance and Children’s Rights) and thus considered being a child in the sense of the UN-CRC. Internet Governance covers a broad range of issues and is defined as the development and application of shared principles, norms, decision making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and the use of the Internet. Art. 3 of the UN-CRC demands the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children. As a consequence the best interest of the child also needs to be a primary consideration in Internet Governance.
Within this session we will discuss the impact of the 25th General Comment to the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child on children’s right to participate in all matters and decisions affecting them? We will especially focus on the question how children aged under 18 can take part in decisions regarding Internet Governance and what tools to make their voices heard are available to them.

Expected Outcomes

• Stocktaking of a variety of approaches to child participation in IG
• Recommendations for the fulfillment of the right to be heard (UN-CRC, Art, 12) by stakeholders from government, industry and civil society

We know that the IGF will take place in a hybrid format and welcome this, as it will make participation much easier for many people who do not have the opportunity to be in Katowice. We have deliberately chosen the round table format because it is important for us to signal through the choice of format that all participants are equal guests in our discussion and that their experiences and ideas are valuable to our discussion. Through pointed questions and opportunities for short answers, we want to stimulate a lively exchange with precise answers and suggestions. In doing so, we want to give equal consideration to the contributions of on-site and online participants and thus stimulate an exchange between all guests of the format.
We will advertise our offer extensively and aim to reach as diverse a group of participants as possible. At the same time, it is important to us to address young people and motivate them for our workshop.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.