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Published 19.11.21

General comment No. 25 - Chapter III: General principles A - B

III. General principles

  1. The following four principles provide a lens through which the implementation of all other rights under the Convention should be viewed. They should serve as a guide for determining the measures needed to guarantee the realization of children’s rights in relation to the digital environment.

  2. A. Non-discrimination

  3. The right to non-discrimination requires that States parties ensure that all children have equal and effective access to the digital environment in ways that are meaningful for them. States parties should take all measures necessary to overcome digital exclusion. That includes providing free and safe access for children in dedicated public locations and investing in policies and programmes that support all children’s affordable access to, and knowledgeable use of, digital technologies in educational settings, communities and homes.

  4. Children may be discriminated against by their being excluded from using digital technologies and services or by receiving hateful communications or unfair treatment through use of those technologies. Other forms of discrimination can arise when automated processes that result in information filtering, profiling or decision-making are based on biased, partial or unfairly obtained data concerning a child.

  5. The Committee calls upon States parties to take proactive measures to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, disability, socioeconomic background, ethnic or national origin, language or any other grounds, and discrimination against minority and indigenous children, asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children, children who are victims and survivors of trafficking or sexual exploitation, children in alternative care, children deprived of liberty and children in other vulnerable situations. Specific measures will be required to close the gender-related digital divide for girls and to ensure that particular attention is given to access, digital literacy, privacy and online safety.

  6. B. Best interests of the child

  7. The best interests of the child is a dynamic concept that requires an assessment appropriate to the specific context. The digital environment was not originally designed for children, yet it plays a significant role in children’s lives. States parties should ensure that, in all actions regarding the provision, regulation, design, management and use of the digital environment, the best interests of every child is a primary consideration.

  8. States parties should involve the national and local bodies that oversee the fulfilment of the rights of children in such actions. In considering the best interests of the child, they should have regard for all children’s rights, including their rights to seek, receive and impart information, to be protected from harm and to have their views given due weight, and ensure transparency in the assessment of the best interests of the child and the criteria that have been applied.

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