LSE MSc student Alexandra Chernyavskaya reflects on the need for more evidence-based policymaking when considering children's rights on the internet.
An important issue highlighted by those who argue for better provision for children's rights online is that the internet is blind to the age of its users, which results in children being treated in the same manner as adult users. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises both that children have some rights over and above those of adults, and that even when child and adult rights are the same, ensuring children enjoy their rights may take additional efforts. Consequently, more and more stakeholders are charged with implementing children's rights in the digital environment. This prompts another set of concerns: most of the efforts are concentrated around protection, and are rarely aimed at enhancing children's participation. In addition, there are cases when protection of children is used as an excuse for tighter censorship and online surveillance.