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Published 19.11.21

General comment No. 25 - Chapter IV: Evolving capacities

IV. Evolving capacities

  1. States parties should respect the evolving capacities of the child as an enabling principle that addresses the process of their gradual acquisition of competencies, understanding and agency. That process has particular significance in the digital environment, where children can engage more independently from supervision by parents and caregivers. The risks and opportunities associated with children’s engagement in the digital environment change depending on their age and stage of development. They should be guided by those considerations whenever they are designing measures to protect children in, or facilitate their access to, that environment. The design of age-appropriate measures should be informed by the best and most up-to-date research available, from a range of disciplines.

  2. States parties should take into account the changing position of children and their agency in the modern world, children’s competence and understanding, which develop unevenly across areas of skill and activity, and the diverse nature of the risks involved. Those considerations must be balanced with the importance of exercising their rights in supported environments and the range of individual experiences and circumstances. States parties should ensure that digital service providers offer services that are appropriate for children’s evolving capacities.

  3. In accordance with States’ duty to render appropriate assistance to parents and caregivers in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities, States parties should promote awareness among parents and caregivers of the need to respect children’s evolving autonomy, capacities and privacy. They should support parents and caregivers in acquiring digital literacy and awareness of the risks to children in order to help them to assist children in the realization of their rights, including to protection, in relation to the digital environment.

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