Children and their rights in the digital environment – 06/09/2022 – Education

While the epidemic accelerates and expands technology adoption for many children, it is a fact that it also highlights the exclusion of many more, reinforcing the need to create more positive public policies for digital inclusion.

In a technology-mediated world, however, it needs to be considered that our rights are far more affected than access. The ability to search, filter and critically, ethically and securely produce information depends not only on the availability of networks and equipment, but also on the creation of digital and media skills that allow constructive and empowering use of this environment.

And this is a very critical point when it comes to children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was enacted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. It is the most unconfirmed human rights tool in history, having been adopted as a guideline for public policy for children in 196 countries. This document sets out the basic conditions under which a child can fully develop and develop, including safety and access to opportunities.

In addition, 1989 is the year the World Wide Web (www) was launched. Since then, digital technologies have profoundly transformed the way we communicate, produce, access information and services, with huge consequences for children and young people alike.

Therefore, it is unquestionable that unequal access to information and communication technology interferes critically with the fundamental rights to education, information and participation. Several countries have already considered in their laws that access to the digital world is a matter of equality and inclusion, and so it must be a fundamental right of any citizen. In Brazil, for example, the Federal Senate has just approved PEC 47/2021, drafted by Senator Simon Tabet (MDB-MS), which establishes digital inclusion as a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution.

It is also important to note that the design and operation of the technologies we use in our daily lives, even if not directly, affects our lives – not just our access to information and services, but our right to good, privacy, security and free choice.

Ignorance or misuse of these technologies can result in rights violations. The effects of artificial intelligence that determine access to benefits or social services, and even the design of platforms that may be in favor of engaging with contextual or manipulative information, are two examples.

In this context, the general comments published by the UN last year.Oh 25 (2021) on the rights of children in relation to the digital environment. The document is the result of the collaborative efforts of 40 national states, hundreds of organizations for children and civil rights, and more than 700 children from 28 countries. Based on previous publications on the impact of digital technology on society, the document establishes guidelines for public policy “in the light of opportunities, risks and challenges in promoting, respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of all children in the digital environment.”

This work is a great step in relation to the many efforts and policies of the last few decades, the main focus of which was the exposure to the virtual environment that could actually cause harm or violence to children – and consequently, a restrictive or punitive approach. By recognizing the right of children and young people to freedom of expression, their development and their right to participate in society, the document provides a way to realize the enormous positive potential of digital technology, if it is actively and intentionally incorporated into its design. , Promoting this right.

Produced by the English NGO 5 Rights Foundation and published in Portuguese by EducaMídia, the Instituto Palavra Auberge Media Education Program is available for schools.

If digital and media literacy presupposes a more conscious and critical view of the technologies we use in our daily lives, then explore the comments.Oh In the educational context, 25 very rich projects can be triggered, as has already been the case with the Sustainable Development Goals. Making children more aware of their rights is also a way to empower them.


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