Children are avid users of the Internet and mobile technology, making up one in three Internet users worldwide. For many children, the distinction between the online and offline worlds is blurring.
Children are spending more time online since the Internet provides many advantages such as education, information, sociability, self expression, and entertainment. However, the online environment also presents risks to which children are especially vulnerable, such as access to inappropriate content, harmful interactions, online sexual abuse and exploitation, and reputational damage, as well as abuse of their rights, commercial issues, and overuse.
When it comes to promoting the benefits of technology for children, while at the same time fostering a safe and secure online environment, stakeholders need to strike a careful balance between the need to safeguard children against inappropriate content and risky behaviour and the need to respect children’s digital rights, including the right to access information and freedom of speech. A rights-based approach, based on children’s rights as enshrined in legal instruments, aims at maximising the opportunities of the digital world for children and young people while protecting them from the risks. The sections below focus on children’s digital rights from a human rights perspective.