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Children's rights in the cyberspace


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This slide makes an attempt to briefly summarise the various rights available to the children while exploring the cyberspace.

Published in: Law
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Children's rights in the cyberspace

  1. 1. Anshuman Sahoo
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  3. 3.  Children are different from adults.  Children, therefore, need differential as well as preferential treatment from and over adults.  This leads to the requirement of a separate set of laws relating to children, so as to ensure justice to children.
  4. 4.  Rights are an inalienable part of ensuring Justice.  Therefore, in order to ensure justice to children, the first and foremost step would be to ensure basic fundamental and other preferential rights to every child.
  5. 5.  After ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ in 1959, UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) came into picture in 1989.  UNCRC provides every child with the basic rights to Provision, Protection and Participation.
  6. 6.  The UNCRC was adopted by the UN in 1989.  With 140 signatories and 196 parties thereto, the UNCRC came into force on 2 September 1990.
  7. 7.  UNCRC vests in children across the globe certain basic child rights, irrespective of the following elements:  Race  Colour  Sex  Language  Religion  Political or other opinion  National, social, or ethnic origin  Property  Disability  Birth or any other status whatsoever of the child or her/his parents
  8. 8.  Right to equality (Non-discrimination) (Article 2)  Right to survival and development (Right to life) (Article 6)  Right to a name and nationality (Article 7)  Right to preservation of identity (Article 8)  Right to live with parents (Article 9)  Right to family reunification (Art 10)  Right against illicit transfer or non-return (Art 11)
  9. 9.  Right to get her opinion heard (Art 12)  Right to freedom of expression (Art 13) and thought, conscience and religion (Art 14)  Right to freedom of association (Art 15)  Right to protection of privacy (Art 16)Right to access to appropriate information (Art 17)  Right to protection from abuse and neglect (Art 19)  Right to get adopted (Art 21)  Right to full and decent life in case of children with disabilities (Art 23)  Right to health and health services (Art 24)  Right to social security (Art 26)
  10. 10.  Right to standard of living (Art 27)  Right to education (Art 28)  Right to leisure and recreation (Art 31)  Right against child labour (Art 32)  Right against drug abuse (33)  Right against sexual exploitation (34)  Right against sale, trafficking and abduction (35) or any other form of exploitation (36)  Right against torture and deprivation of liberty (37)
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  12. 12.  Various definitions have been given by various expert committees and organisations of the term ‘cyberspace’.  However, not attempting for an exhaustive definition, we can define ‘cyberspace’ as ‘the global domain of interactive as well as interdependent networks, including the internet and other telecommunication networks’.
  13. 13.  With the growth in technology, the cyberspace have attained an ever-expanding and ever-growing state.  In this, children have come to play the role of harbingers of the cyberspace due to the ease with which they acquire the technical know-hows thereof.
  14. 14.  Unfortunately, there are two sides to a coin.  With the advent of new opportunities, new risks are also evolving in the cyberspace.  Apart from bringing tremendous positive opportunities, the internet also operates as an instrument for offenders and abusers.
  15. 15.  The risks or threats to children in the cyberspace can be broadly stated as:  Online abusing and harassing  Exposure to inappropriate content  Excessive usage leading to wastage of time  Vulnerably accessible by potential offenders  However, many experts have agreed that such potentials of risks can be reduced by spreading awareness and ensuring technical know-how to the children.
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  17. 17.  The existing laws or conventions do not specifically recognize or provide for the rights of children in the cyberspace.  Still, the existing laws can be interpreted in a digital-age specific manner to fulfill such needs.  Here, we’ll examine the rights available under UNCRC in a digital context.
  18. 18.  So, the UNCRC needs a digital-age specific interpretation in order to ascertain the rights of children in the cyberspace.  For example, in the following slides, effort has been made to interpret the three basic rights, i.e., the three P’s of Protection, Participation, and Provision.
  19. 19. Protection against all forms of abuse and neglect (Article 19), including sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Article 34), and other forms of exploitation prejudicial to child’s welfare (Article 36). Effort to prevent creation and distribution of online child abuse images, sexual grooming, online dimension of child trafficking.
  20. 20. Protection from “material injurious to the child’s well-being” (Article 17e), “Right to privacy and reputation” (Article 16) and right of child to preserve his or her identity (Article 8) Effort to prevent, manage and raise awareness of reputational risks, privacy intrusions,cyberbullying, pornography, personal data misuse (including identifying, location-based and financial information)
  21. 21. Children’s rights to recreation and leisure as appropriate to their age (Article 31), an education that will support the development of their full potential (Article 28) and prepare them ‘for responsible life in a free society’ (Article 29) Effort to provide educational technology, online information and creative resources, and promote digital skills in an equitable way (taking into account relevant languages, difficulties of access or conditions of disability or disadvantage)
  22. 22. Participation rights: “best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration” (Article 3), Right of children to be consulted in all matters affecting them (Article 12); freedom of expression (Article 13) and freedom of association (Article 15) Effort to include all children in diverse societal processes, including consulting them on matters of education etc. Also, the rights to access to information without any discrimination on the basis of sex, economic resources, nationality, or physical disability: special technologies to allow right to access of disabled children
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  24. 24.  Among different segments of the society, Govt. plays a major role as in strengthening the laws and also providing appropriate digital resources.  Role of other segments also cannot be ignored in ensuring an environment of trust and believe for the children.
  25. 25.  Problems of in-equal access are multifaceted in origin and must be dealt with accordingly.  Creation of help-lines, awareness programs and hotlines for children may help in this regard.  Breaking cultural stereotypes may also be crucial in order to ensure better implementation of the rights in an equitable manner.
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