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Published 17.12.20

Children’s rights in the digital environment

Marlene Fasolt, Stiftung Digitale Chancen

2020 was an extraordinary year that had a big impact on how, when and to what extent young people use digital media. Within a year the average amount of time young people (ages 15-19) spent on the Internet increased from 205 minutes to 258 minutes a day. ( JIM Study 2020). However, the school closures in Germany have also led to an increase of the use of digital technologies by many younger children as well. It is therefore essential that children’s rights are protected in the digital environment and that children and youth do know about their rights.

In 2018, the Council of Europe published guidelines to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of the child in the digital environment. Even though this topic directly affects children, the original guidelines are very difficult for children to understand. Therefore, a child-friendly version of these guidelines has now been published by the Council of Europe. This allows children and young people to learn about their own rights on the internet. In these guidelines, children’s rights are applied to the digital environment, including the right to information, the right to privacy and the right to play, and are presented in an easy-to-understand manner. In addition to this, there is also information on how decision-makers must act and what factors need to be taken into account to guarantee these rights.

These guidelines are a good resource for talking to children about their own rights. They can be downloaded in English language here.