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Published 19.11.21

General comment No. 25 - Chapter V: General measures of implementation by States parties G - I

G. Dissemination of information, awareness-raising and training

  1. States parties should disseminate information and conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of the child in the digital environment, focusing in particular on those whose actions have a direct or indirect impact on children. They should facilitate educational programmes for children, parents and caregivers, the general public and policymakers to enhance their knowledge of children’s rights in relation to the opportunities and risks associated with digital products and services. Such programmes should include information on how children can benefit from digital products and services and develop their digital literacy and skills, how to protect children’s privacy and prevent victimization and how to recognize a child who is a victim of harm perpetrated online or offline and respond appropriately. Such programmes should be informed by research and consultations with children, parents and caregivers.

  2. Professionals working for and with children and the business sector, including the technology industry, should receive training that includes how the digital environment affects the rights of the child in multiple contexts, the ways in which children exercise their rights in the digital environment and how they access and use technologies. They should also receive training on the application of international human rights standards to the digital environment. States parties should ensure that pre-service and in-service training relating to the digital environment is provided for professionals working at all levels of education, to support the development of their knowledge, skills and practice.

  3. H. Cooperation with civil society

  4. States parties should systematically involve civil society, including child-led groups and non-governmental organizations working in the field of children’s rights and those concerned with the digital environment, in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of laws, policies, plans and programmes relating to children’s rights. They should also ensure that civil society organizations are able to implement their activities relating to the promotion and protection of children’s rights in relation to the digital environment.

  5. I. Children’s rights and the business sector

  6. The business sector, including not-for-profit organizations, affects children’s rights directly and indirectly in the provision of services and products relating to the digital environment. Businesses should respect children’s rights and prevent and remedy abuse of their rights in relation to the digital environment. States parties have the obligation to ensure that businesses meet those responsibilities.

  7. States parties should take measures, including through the development, monitoring, implementation and evaluation of legislation, regulations and policies, to ensure compliance by businesses with their obligations to prevent their networks or online services from being used in ways that cause or contribute to violations or abuses of children’s rights, including their rights to privacy and protection, and to provide children, parents and caregivers with prompt and effective remedies. They should also encourage businesses to provide public information and accessible and timely advice to support children’s safe and beneficial digital activities.

  8. States parties have a duty to protect children from infringements of their rights by business enterprises, including the right to be protected from all forms of violence in the digital environment. Although businesses may not be directly involved in perpetrating harmful acts, they can cause or contribute to violations of children’s right to freedom from violence, including through the design and operation of digital services. States parties should put in place, monitor and enforce laws and regulations aimed at preventing violations of the right to protection from violence, as well as those aimed at investigating, adjudicating on and redressing violations as they occur in relation to the digital environment.

  9. States parties should require the business sector to undertake child rights due diligence, in particular to carry out child rights impact assessments and disclose them special consideration given to the differentiated and, at times, severe impacts of the digital environment on children. They should take appropriate steps to prevent, monitor, investigate and punish child rights abuses by businesses.

  10. In addition to developing legislation and policies, States parties should require all businesses that affect children’s rights in relation to the digital environment to implement regulatory frameworks, industry codes and terms of services that adhere to the highest standards of ethics, privacy and safety in relation to the design, engineering, development, operation, distribution and marketing of their products and services. That includes businesses that target children, have children as end users or otherwise affect children. They should require such businesses to maintain high standards of transparency and accountability and encourage them to take measures to innovate in the best interests of the child. They should also require the provision of age-appropriate explanations to children, or to parents and caregivers for very young children, of their terms of service.

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