Digital media are no longer luxuries, but are rapidly becoming essentials of modern existence – and this applies increasingly in the global South as well as the global North. Faced with the challenge of understanding and managing fast-developing social and digital innovations, governments around the world, along with organisations that work with children, are calling for a coherent, principled, evidence-based framework with which to recognise and address children’s rights and best interests. This is required to fulfil our ethical obligations to children. It is also a matter of practical necessity.
States around the world are struggling to address children’s provision, protection and participation in the face of rapid technological transformation. Many, if not most, states lack the knowledge and understanding with which to respond adequately to the unfolding changes in digital environments and their implications for children’s lives and society more broadly.
This report examines the case for a General Comment on children’s rights and digital media by reviewing the global evidence, children’s voices and expert opinion. These urge that society’s growing reliance on digital environments has profound consequences for children’s rights.