SIENNA responds to public consultation on children's rights in digital environments

21-9

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On 13 November 2020, we submitted our response to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) draft General Comment No. 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment. Our key recommendation is to address children’s rights in relation to all digital technologies. Additional recommendations include adopting stronger ‘red lines’ on digital technologies that impact children, calling for AI that respects children’s rights, and addressing concerns related to digital inequality. 

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Digital technologies are everywhere, and affect children whether or not they are engaged with a specific technology or on a particular platform. We welcome the Committee’s initiative to address the how children’s rights are impacted by digital environments. The draft General Comment includes several issues directly related to SIENNA’s work, specifically regarding the rights to privacy and education. 

Our key recommendation is to broaden the understanding of the ‘digital environment’ and consider the direct and indirect, current and future, impacts of all digital technologies on children. Additionally, key decisions about children’s lives are increasingly made with and through the use of digital technologies, in ways both known and unknown to children and their families. There is a need for greater prudence on the part of governments and organisations, which should include establishing clear positions on ‘red lines’ and limitations in the deployment and use of digital technologies that negatively impact children.

Other recommendations include addressing the impacts of AI and calling for AI that is developed, deployed, and used in a way that does not violate (or enable violation) of children’s human rights. In our response, we provide a non-exhaustive list of AI use cases that should be considered and recommend addressing the risks associated with the growing digital divide and inequalities, particularly human rights violations in contexts where access to and control over digital technologies are more limited.

By Nicole Santiago

We invite you to read our full response (Link removed) .

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