14 December, 2017

Visegrad children for digital society

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Visegrad children for digital society

by Zdeněk Záliš

A very interesting project called Visegrad children for digital society just finished a very important part of its work. The project aims to channelize and transfer the views of children on their rights in the digital environment to policy-makers in the V4 region. Children individually or as a group have the right, the means, the space, the opportunity and, where necessary, the support to freely express their views, to be heard and to contribute to decision making on matters affecting them, as well as their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity. The vision and perspective of children is usually left aside because they are “limited or immature visions”, it is like depriving an asthmatic of an inhaler, no way would someone do it and in case you want to find good and high quality products, such like inhalers, you can find this product at UK Meds.

visigrad children 4 digital societyRepresentatives of 4 Visegrad countries participating in the project met in Budapest at the end of November to discuss outcomes of national discussion where children expressed their views on the issues which they consider important. Czech children contributed to the project with their views on their rights in the digital age based on the disputes of the state-of-the-art and the significance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

How do children perceive their rights in a digital age?

The Czech National Safer Internet Center organized in cooperation with the Lupacova Primary School in Prague two debates with children on children’s rights enshrined in the Convention and their place in today’s digital world.

The very first Articles of the Convention raised questions – Article 3 of the Convention states that “the interest of the child must be a primary consideration in any activity relating to children …”, it also speaks of the protection and care necessary for its well-being. Article 17 also mentions the function of the mass media and the provision of information and resources aimed at developing the child’s social, spiritual and moral well-being, as well as his physical and mental health.

Question: What is the interest and well-being of a child in the digital age?

The children agreed that interest and well-being are very vague concepts, they are definitely related and can be characterized by the following terms: safety, the possibility of having their opinion, their privacy, equality on the Net – „not to hurt us“, to behave well, to have the opportunity to do what I enjoy. Feeling good and blaze on Net also means being popular – having lots of likes.

In Article 5 of the Convention, States undertake to respect the responsibilities, rights and obligations of parents aimed at securing the child’s orientation and guidance in exercising the rights under the Convention in accordance with its evolving abilities. Article 18 states that states provide parents with the necessary assistance in fulfilling their childcare tasks

Question: What are the responsibilities, rights and responsibilities of parents in the digital age? Are parents ready? Does the State provide them with sufficient help?

Children said that parents are not ready for the digital world and cannot even reflect, let alone orient and direct their digital capabilities. Some parents control the activities of children on the Internet and it is good, but they lack sufficient education and insight to “not take it so seriously”. The state or other institutions do not provide parents with the necessary assistance to take into account the reality of the digital age, there is no systematic parenting or adequate state support.

Article 12 of the Convention talks about the right of the child to speak freely in all matters concerning him, whereas states shall give appropriate attention to the children’s opinion…

Question: What is the focus of children’s attention on?

Children do not know how to talk about their rights and opinions with state institutions in order to change things. They would welcome the existence of an online platform where they could express themselves and somebody really cares of it. They would also welcome the establishment of a child`s ombudsman.

Article 16 of the Convention deals with the protection of the child’s privacy.

Children found that the lack of education in privacy protection in the digital age fundamentally jeopardizes their ability and ability of their parents and society to defend themselves and be protected from threats and attacks on their privacy and their attempts to restrict them. Privacy is constantly hampered by digital technologies and low awareness of their threats and ways to effectively defend themselves – using mobile phones, unsecured online communications, publishing personal data on social networks, online gaming, public camera systems, but also the Internet of things.

Privacy takes precedence over the internet!

Other suggestions of children resulting from the discussion:

  1. The Convention nor any other standard defines the right to childhood, ie the right not to be a “small adult” with adult`s responsibilities, the right to play according to their own, without the necessary educational elements of the preparation for the profession, mentoring of parents,
  2. The Convention or any other standard does not guarantee the right to free life without digital technology. One must have the right to live without digital technology without being financially or otherwise restricted and punished, ie the right to live and communicate as well as before the Internet appeared (1994) All sites must have  squarespace accessibility for every user to be able to access them safely.
  3. Privacy and personal data protection in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – children were not consulted (see www.facebook.com/GDPRhaveyoursay/)
  4. Creating a Children’s National Digital Society Strategy should define:
  5. a) What is a digital society for children, how the digital society is regulated and how it affects children’s lives,
  6. b) what children expect from adults to feel good and safe in the digital society,
  7. c) how to make the digital society child-friendly.

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