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Published 19.11.21

General comment No. 25 - Chapter V: General measures of implementation by States parties A - F

V. General measures of implementation by States parties

  1. Opportunities for the realization of children’s rights and their protection in the digital environment require a broad range of legislative, administrative and other measures, including precautionary ones.

  2. A. Legislation

  3. States parties should review, adopt and update national legislation in line with international human rights standards, to ensure that the digital environment is compatible with the rights set out in the Convention and the Optional Protocols thereto. Legislation should remain relevant, in the context of technological advances and emerging practices. They should mandate the use of child rights impact assessments to embed children’s rights into legislation, budgetary allocations and other administrative decisions relating to the digital environment and promote their use among public bodies and businesses relating to the digital environment.

  4. B. Comprehensive policy and strategy

  5. States parties should ensure that national policies relating to children’s rights specifically address the digital environment, and they should implement regulation, industry codes, design standards and action plans accordingly, all of which should be regularly evaluated and updated. Such national policies should be aimed at providing children with the opportunity to benefit from engaging with the digital environment and ensuring their safe access to it.

  6. Children’s online protection should be integrated within national child protection policies. States parties should implement measures that protect children from risks, including cyberaggression and digital technology-facilitated and online child sexual exploitation and abuse, ensure the investigation of such crimes and provide remedy and support for children who are victims. They should also address the needs of children in disadvantaged or vulnerable situations, including by providing child-friendly information that is, when necessary, translated into relevant minority languages.

  7. States parties should ensure the operation of effective child protection mechanisms online and safeguarding policies, while also respecting children’s other rights, in all settings where children access the digital environment, which includes the home, educational settings, cybercafés, youth centres, libraries and health and alternative care settings.

  8. C. Coordination

  9. To encompass the cross-cutting consequences of the digital environment for children’s rights, States parties should identify a government body that is mandated to coordinate policies, guidelines and programmes relating to children’s rights among central government departments and the various levels of government. Such a national coordination mechanism should engage with schools and the information and communications technology sector and cooperate with businesses, civil society, academia and organizations to realize children’s rights in relation to the digital environment at the cross-sectoral, national, regional and local levels. It should draw on technological and other relevant expertise within and beyond government, as needed, and be independently evaluated for its effectiveness in meeting its obligations.

  10. D. Allocation of resources

  11. States parties should mobilize, allocate and utilize public resources to implement legislation, policies and programmes to fully realize children’s rights in the digital environment and to improve digital inclusion, which is needed to address the increasing impact of the digital environment on children’s lives and to promote the equality of access to, and affordability of, services and connectivity.

  12. Where resources are contributed from the business sector or obtained through international cooperation, States parties should ensure that their own mandate, revenue mobilization, budget allocations and expenditure are not interfered with or undermined by third parties.

  13. E. Data collection and research

  14. Regularly updated data and research are crucial to understanding the implications of the digital environment for children’s lives, evaluating its impact on their rights and assessing the effectiveness of State interventions. States parties should ensure the collection of robust, comprehensive data that is adequately resourced and that data are disaggregated by age, sex, disability, geographical location, ethnic and national origin and socioeconomic background. Such data and research, including research conducted with and by children, should inform legislation, policy and practice and should be available in the public domain. Data collection and research relating to children’s digital lives must respect their privacy and meet the highest ethical standards.

  15. F. Independent monitoring

  16. States parties should ensure that the mandates of national human rights institutions and other appropriate independent institutions cover children’s rights in the digital environment and that they are able to receive, investigate and address complaints from children and their representatives. Where independent oversight bodies exist to monitor activities in relation to the digital environment, national human rights institutions should work closely with such bodies on effectively discharging their mandate regarding children’s rights.

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