IGF 2023 WS #170 Global cooperation to advance children's rights online


Organizer 1: Farthing Rys, Reset.Tech
Organizer 2: Shiferaw Bzu, Fairplay for Kids
Organizer 3: Maria Góes de Mello, 🔒

Speaker 1: Teki Akuetteh , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Hartung Pedro, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Farthing Rys, Intergovernmental Organization, Asia-Pacific Group


Dawkins Alice, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Shiferaw Bzu, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Nguyen Matt, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Birds of a Feather - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How does the experience of safety and privacy online vary for children and young people around the world?
B. How do international and national laws and regulations shape these experiences?
C. How does the national and regional design of products and services shape these experiences?
D. How can children and young people’s safety and privacy be universally improved across the world? Who is responsible for what aspect and how can we work together?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will take home new understandings around both;
- The interconnectedness of children’s rights online, and how online safety and safety-by-design approaches reflect and address online privacy and digital wellbeing concerns
- The need for a collaborative approach to online safety and how different actors, from States to regulators to civil society to academia and industry all have a distinct but interconnected role to play in advancing children’s online safety

The session will aim to seed the ground to establish an ongoing collaboration among attendees and offer the opportunity to continue the discussion beyond the workshop. They will take home to invitation and opportunities to continue to collaborate around this topic. They will also be able to connect with new networks to foster ongoing dialogue and collaborations.



Achieving a safer online world for young people requires realizing a full range of children’s rights, from rights to protection to rights to privacy to rights to non-discrimination. While children’s rights in this digital world are universal, the protections they enjoy are often fragmented and vary region-to-region and country-to-country. There is a strong need to reinforce global cooperation around, and alignment on, policies and processes for the implementation of children’s existing rights in this area (as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its General comments, most notably General comment 25 (GC25) across the globe. Civil society, intergovernmental organizations, Government and the private sector, including technologists, all have a strong role to play in this.

This session aims to prompt critical discussions about how to improve global cooperation and global protections for children online. It will explore the current globally uneven experience children experience when it comes to online safety, and the strategies and cooperation that is needed to address this.

This workshop will be an interactive birds of a feather session, featuring a “rapid panel provocation” to kick off the discussion, moderated discussions among attendees, and include contributions from young people. Provocations will be delivered in a way that foregrounds expertise from different parts of the world, including Pedro Hartung from the Alana Institute in Brazil and Teki Akuetteh from the Africa Digital Rights Hub for example. We will also include young people’s contributions from Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, South Africa, Slovenia and Argentina (live online or via video contribution to fit the time zones where they are from).

Expected Outcomes

The workshop will feed into the development of a Chatham House Rules thematic report, which will be released online. This report will inform the work plan of the ‘international children’s coalition’ of civil society organizations (that currently meet online to share knowledge and information on a quarterly basis). Civil society participants will be invited to join this existing group on an ongoing basis, and if there is appetite, a parallel ‘all sector’ group established to continue the discussions.

We will use these insights to shape our collective work across 2024, including—for example—hosting additional roundtables and collaborations on issues and themes identified.

Hybrid Format: We aim to foster and embrace the hybrid process from the outset. For example, we will have both an online and in person moderator working together, our initial ‘rapid provocation panel’ will include speakers in person and online, and (if possible) we hope to have young people present in person and online.

There is time in our session for small group work, where the online group will be enabled to use ‘virtual break out’ space to have the same experience as those attending in person. Moderators will then ensure that the process of reporting back and participating in whole-of-group discussions represents those online as well as in person.