Children’s rights in Children's rights in the digital environment
Children are digital natives. If given the opportunity and access to resources, they navigate the internet, social media and other digital tools with ease. Online world offers many opportunities for learning, social interactions, developing skills, playing, arranging everyday life. Assistive devices and programmes help children with disabilities to, among other things, connect with their peers and participate in lessons. Several challenges remain. Not all children have equal access to internet, electronic tools and devices. The digital world can bring some threats as well such as abuse, cyberbullying, hate speech, harmful content, and misinformation. Over-exposure to screen time may lead to health problems.
EU actions to ensure that children can safely navigate the digital environment and harness its opportunities
The EU framework to protect children’s rights in the digital environment:
- Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography
- Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia
- Directive (EU) 2018/1808 on the Audiovisual Media Services
- Directive (EU) 2019/882 on the accessibility requirements for products and services
- Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data
- Directive 2005/29/EC on Unfair Commercial Practices
- Communication on Tackling online disinformation: a European Approach, COM(2018)236;
- European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children, COM(2012)196.
- Commission Proposal for a Regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services (Digital Services Act)
- Digital Competence Framework 2.0, EU Science Hub, European Commission
- Safer Internet Centres
- Better Internet for Kids platform
Under the new EU Strategy on the rights of the child, the Commission committed to:
- adopt an updated Better Internet for Kids Strategy in 2022;
- create and facilitate a child-led process aimed at developing a set of principles to be promoted and adhered to by the industry;
- promote the development and use of accessible ICT and assistive technologies for children with disabilities such as speech recognition, closed captioning and others, including in Commission’s conferences and events;
- ensure the full implementation of the European Accessibility Act;
- step up the fight against all forms of online child sexual abuse, such as by proposing the necessary legislation including obligations for relevant online services providers to detect and report known child sexual abuse material online.