In Mission Opposites you considered the reasons why digital technology might positively or negatively impact your rights.
The Convention is not just a list of rights, it also says that Governments should do everything they can to support children and allow them to thrive as they journey towards adulthood. Many of the Agents who completed Mission Opposites felt that digital technology provides opportunities to flourish and grow as individuals, “because with technology we can develop our interests” (Indonesia, 16). Some of you pointed out that digital technology helps your right to freedom of thought “because internet gives the access to children to explore new things” (Malaysia, 17).
Growing and developing into adults is your number one job every day. But growing up isn’t always easy, and sometimes you need a little support and direction. Article 5 of the Convention recognises your right to parental guidance, and puts responsibility on Governments to “assist families in fulfilling their role as nurturers of children”. Many of you felt that digital technology impacts on this right for parental guidance but, interestingly, some of you see this as a positive impact, while others saw the negative side.
“With technology it’s easier to guide children.” Indonesia, 16
“It’s harder for parents to guide their children because they can do things on the internet without the awareness of the parents.” Belgium, 17
“Some children might not notify their parents on the sites they surf on.” Malaysia, 15
You have told us that technology can help young people to thrive. So, shouldn’t technology also support parents in helping children to thrive? What kind of guidance do you think young people need? And what do parents need in order to better guide young people in the digital age? How can parents use technology to support young people and better enact article 5?
Still on the topic of young people’s development, another theme in your answers is agency: in other words, the capacity to make choices, to form opinions and to act upon them. Most of you highlighted how technology provides new ways for people ー especially young people ー to express themselves. This points to a recent change in how we think of technology, and the internet in particular: from a tool to access, receive or consume information to a way for people to create and, more importantly, participate as citizens and community members. And you are keen to join the conversation!
“Many blogs or sites ask for people’s stands and opinion on all sorts of matter and there are ways to raise awareness about some things and create movements and target groups.” Serbia, 16
“Nowadays it is possible to express oneself on the internet and social media… Our words can reach much further, sometimes worldwide.” France, 14
What better way to start start building your agency as a young person than by raising awareness about your rights? Article 42 of the Convention says that children have the right to know their rights and that adults should help children learn about them. From what you are saying, it seems that technology can help do just that! And if you feel inspired to share your knowledge, check out Special Op 002!
“Because of the internet children can now look up what their rights are.” Belgium, 17
“From the digital technology children and young people can form an organization eg UNICEF to discuss of our rights as children.” Malaysia, 17
“I didn’t know about all of these rights, even if some were obvious to me, before I went on to RErights which I have discovered thanks to social media and therefore thanks to new technologies.” France, 14
Thriving is also about building resilience and making the right decision when you are faced with challenges. What challenges does digital technology throw at you?
Coming up next: your right to privacy.