Celebration of General Comment No.25 on children’s rights in the digital environment

EACA participates in a webinar on the digital rights of a child.

On 24 March, the 5Rights Foundation celebrated the adoption by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child of General Comment No.25, which was created to protect children’s rights concerning the digital environment.

Due to the global pandemic, there has been an increase in children’s use of technology not only as a means of entertainment but also as a necessary tool for school learning. However, this has also led to children feeling isolated and disoriented. Not having physical and personal contact with their peers leads them to look for acceptance on social networks like on Facebook or a comment on a photo on Instagram has enormous power over children’s self-esteem, to the point of making them feel marginalised or sad if they do not receive them.

As stated in Article 17 of General Comment No. 25: “When developing legislation, policies, programmes, services, and training on children’s rights concerning the digital environment, States parties should involve all children, listen to their needs and give due weight to their views. They should ensure that digital service providers actively engage with children, applying appropriate safeguards, and give their views due consideration when developing products and services”.

Section J puts forward that, regarding advertising and marketing, States Parties should prohibit the profiling or targeting of children of any age for commercial purposes based on a digital record of their characteristics. This could be achieved by using data protection, privacy-by-design and safety-by design approaches and other regulatory measures.

Background

On 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, at the end of a drafting process driven by the desire to avoid a repetition of the atrocities committed during the Second World War.

Bearing in mind the need to grant special protection to the child on 20 November 1989, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 1989, the Convention has become the human rights treaty with the highest number of ratifications: today, 196 states are legally bound to respect the rights it recognises.

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