IGF 2023 WS #223 Engaging commerce, innovation and children's privacy online


Organizer 1: Ma. Maristela Miranda, LIGHTS Institute
Organizer 2: Jessamine Pacis, FMA🔒

Speaker 1: Shradha Pandey, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: ASHRAFUR RAHMAN PIAUS, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Andrias Khemal, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Clare Amador, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group


Ma. Maristela Miranda, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Jessamine Pacis, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Jessamine Pacis, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What are the online privacy risks and related dangers faced by children in the Global South? What factors allow or will allow for these to materialize?
2. What measures or best practices are currently being done to limit or prevent, if not remove, these risks from happening? Are they effective? Why or why not? What are the challenges encountered by the different stakeholders in the implementation of these measures?
3. What measures can the different stakeholders implement to balance children’s online privacy with innovation and the private sector’s economic interests?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will:
1. explore the current landscape of children's online privacy, including key challenges and emerging issues in the context of the Global South;
2. learn about the efforts and measures (e.g., code, policy, training, etc.) implemented by stakeholders in the Global South, and understand the corresponding challenges in their implementation; and
3. explore possible measures to address the issues moving forward.


In today’s digital era, children are regarded as digital natives. They represent around a third of the world’s internet users, hailing mostly from the Global South. For many, the use of technology is inseparable from their daily life. And as they grow older, they continue to climb the “ladder of online participation” owing to the newer technologies they are exposed to.

In an ideal world, this may seem benign, or advantageous even. In the real one that we have, however, it is not. A big reason for this is that children—equipped only with limited knowledge and comprehension skills—are generally treated as adults in the online realm. Combined with poor policies and age-inappropriate designs of technologies, it increases the dangers children are exposed to, such as sexual harassment and abuse, cyberbullying, and microtargeting. Those in developing countries are particularly more vulnerable.

This is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Right now, there is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which requires States, parents, and even companies to provide special assistance and protection to children. It must apply online with equal force and with the same urgency and dedication from all stakeholders. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of measures at the moment that cater to the protection of children from online privacy risks. Worse, most are developed for and/or are often enforced only in developed countries.

The proposed round table discussion focuses on online privacy risks as they relate to children’s use of technologies, such as the internet, mobile apps, and social media platforms. It particularly seeks to highlight the challenges confronting those in the Global South, as well as the measures being implemented to address them. The organizers will gather recommendations that balance children’s online privacy with innovation and the private sector’s economic interests.

Expected Outcomes

LIGHTS Institute, in partnership with the Foundation for Media Alternatives, plans to publish an article or short paper about the session discussions. An op-ed featuring the article/short paper can also be published through a Philippine-domestic online news platform, GMA News Online or Rappler, for wider dissemination. Discussions can also be shared with SWITCH! SEA (APNIC Foundation’s project) co-beneficiaries of one of the organizers.

The article will hopefully guide the different stakeholders in the Global South in crafting policies, online products and services, and other efforts that balance children’s online privacy in the Global South with innovation and the private sector’s economic interests.

Hybrid Format: The discussion will be done on-site and streamed via Zoom. 5-10 minutes will be allotted for the introduction of the topic and the speakers. Another 5-10 minutes for summarizing and closing the session. 70-80 minutes will be allotted for the discussions.

Each question will be discussed for about 25 minutes: 15 minutes for the sharing and discussion among speakers and moderator, and 10 minutes will be for follow-up questions or feedback from the audience.

One organizer will be tasked to monitor the Zoom chat box for any questions and inform the moderator if there are any. The moderator is tasked to entertain questions from on-site and online audience and keep the discussions on-track.

A Miro board can be used by one of the organizers to note the highlights of the discussions which shall be shared via Zoom to help both the online audience and the rapporteur follow the discussions.