What’s digital technology got to do with your rights?
Well, quite a lot, from what Agents are saying in Missions Impact and Opposites. As we saw in previous posts, digital technology helps to implement some rights – like access to information or freedom of expression – but can interfere with other rights, like privacy. For many of you, digital technology has also had a significant impact on what’s commonly called ‘protection rights’.
Protection rights form a large part of the Convention. They aim to protect children from any activity that could harm their welfare and development (Article 36). Article 19 says that children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse and neglect – and some of you felt that digital technology interferes with this right. The main reason you gave was that the online world might increase some forms of harm or even create new ones, and cyberbullying was the most commonly reported example.
“We do not have protection from various forms of violence in the virtual Internet network especially when we talk about cyberbullying” Brazil, 14
“Because bullying spreads outside the school yard through cyberbullying.” France, 16
Alongside behaviours that only happen online, other, offline forms of harm or violence can be made easier with technology, either through easier tracking of information or because of greater anonymity. These things may not increase your risk of harm, but they might make it harder to protect yourself. Some of you mentioned that Article 11 – on protection from parental kidnapping – and Article 35 – on protection from abduction, sale and trafficking – are harder to enact in the digital age. The same can be said for other forms of violence or exploitation, such as sexual exploitation (Article 34).
“It’s pretty rare, but it happens nonetheless that children are kidnapped because of information disclosed for example on the internet (place, time, location …).” France, 14
“We still have many children who surf the internet without supervision of a responsible adult, and we never know who is on the other side of the screen communicating with us. Today in Brazil we see many crimes against children mainly from the use of the internet.” Brazil, 14
Agents seemed to recognise that risk exposure and harmful events might occur in different ways in the digital age, but the right to protection remains the same and is as important now as it was 27 years ago, when the Convention was adopted.
Do you agree? What else can you tell us about digital technology and your right to be protected from all forms of violence? If you haven’t already, accept your next Mission in Operation Uncool and tell us more about the issue of stuff happening online that is simply not cool.
Out next: our final blog post about the impact of technology on your rights. We’ll look at your answers around digital technology, health and time management.