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Children's and Young People's Rights in the Digital Age

An IAMCR 2016 pre-conference


Tuesday 26 – Wednesday 27 July, 2016

Shaw Library, Old Building, London School of Economics and Political Science

Below you can find links to the papers presented at the conference. 

Concerns that children’s rights are being newly infringed rather than enhanced in the digital age are often raised by researchers, child rights’ advocates, and internet governance experts. Children’s needs and experiences in the digital age are often neglected in high-level debates about global internet provision and governance and children’s rights are treated as a minority interest and seen as demanding exceptional treatment from adult society. Further, current debates frequently emphasise the risks children potentially face online and underline their right to protection but much less debate focuses on children’s provision and participation rights and the opportunities children may encounter online.

The conference sought to unpack the ways digital media intersect – both positively and negatively – with children’s rights today and to reflect on how children’s rights might provide a meaningful counterpoint from which to consider the role of ‘the digital’ in advancing human rights more broadly.

Convenors: Sonia Livingstone, Amanda Third, and Mariya Stoilova


Opening plenary

Speaker: Amanda Third (Western Sydney University and Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre)

Chair: Sonia Livingstone (London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE)

The opening plenary seeks to unpack the ways digital media intersect – both positively and negatively – with children’s rights today and to reflect on how children’s rights might provide a meaningful counterpoint from which to consider the role of ‘the digital’ in advancing human rights more broadly

Parallel sessions I

Session 1: Children's voice and agency

Gitte StaldChildren as digital rights agents

Klaus Thestrup – SMALL STEPS - how to be a digital world citizen?

Smiljana Simeunovic FrickChallenge accepted: web-portal for children's participation in the Convention for the Children’s Rights monitoring in Moldova

Session 2: Child protection from online risks

Lelia Green and Donell HollowayWhat rights do young people have to explore sexually explicit materials?

Martina CirbusováProtecting children from unwanted information

James MarshFull restitution for child pornography victims: the Supreme Court’s Paroline decision and the need for a congressional response

Session 3: Rethinking children's rights

Elisabeth StaksrudWhich is more important for people – freedom of expression or protecting children from unwanted media content?

Uwe Hasebrink and Claudia LampertContent │ contract │ contact │ conduct:  translating a risks and opportunities classification into a children’s rights framework

Gerard Goggin and Meryl AlperDisability, children, and new challenges to digital policy and human rights 

Parallel sessions II 

Session 4: Online civic participation

Xin Zeng and Fen XiangChinese young citizens’ emerging media practices  and political engagement

Renata Souza, Andrea Medrado and Adilson Cabral – Online activism by Rio’s favela youth: technology appropriation and surveillance

Philippa Collin - ‘No Right of Way’: institutional barriers to enacting children’s rights in a digital age

Session 5: Online privacy challenges

Máire Messenger Davies and Brigit MorrisChildren's rights to privacy in an age of digital media: a comparison between press codes from around the world

Milda Macenaite – Children’s right to privacy in the digital age: the new interpretation of an old right

Lidia Marôpo, Ana Jorge, Inês Vitorino Sampaio and Raiana de CarvalhoDigital rights and young people with cancer: perspectives from Portugal and Brazil

Session 6: Rights to digital literacies

Toshie TakahashiPreparing the young for Japan's global future: opportunities in digital literacy

Sara Pereira – Teenagers’ transmedia practices: Portuguese preliminary results from the ‘Transliteracy’ European study

Conceicao Costa, José Rogado and Carla SousaInside the “black-box”: children rights in the digital age

Global Kids Online plenary

Speakers: Jasmina Byrne (UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti), Sonia Livingstone (LSE) and Susan Bissell (UNICEF)

Respondents: Magdalena Aguilar (Child Helpline International), Richard Riley (WePROTECT Global Alliance), and Jenny Thomas (Child Rights International Network)

Chair: David Miles (Child Online Protection)

Jasmina Byrne and Sonia Livingstone will present the Global Kids Online project, research toolkit and early findings, part of the WePROTECT initiative. The presentation will focus on the challenges of gathering global evidence on children’s and young people’s online risk and opportunities and will identify good examples for guiding national and international policy and practice. Susan Bissell will introduce Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Parallel sessions III

Session 7: Inequalities and digital divides

Sara Pereira – Chair

Fabio Senne and Maria Eugenia SozioAddressing the digital divide: internet access and children’s online opportunities in Brazil

Monica Barbovschi and Tatiana JereissatiGender representations and ICT among Brazilian youth in the context of children’s rights, reflections from a qualitative investigation

Session 8: Migration and belonging

Elisabeth Staksrud –  Chair

Lisa Trujillo – Exploring unaccompanied refugee minors’ access to and experiences with digital media: a qualitative exploratory case study in Berlin

Nadia Kutscher and Lisa-Marie KreßContexts and contradictions of digital children’s rights of unaccompanied minor refugees

Session 9: Parenting and rights in the digital age

Toshie Takahashi – Chair

Sonia Livingstone and Alicia Blum-RossChildren’s digital rights: negotiating parental responsibilities in the digital age

Bojana Lobe, Anca Velicu, Michael Dreier, Stephane Chaudron, Monica Gemo, Rosanna Di Gioia – Cross-case Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) identifying patterns of ICT use and parental mediation of very young children

Ana Francisca MonteiroParental mediation in the use of technology by children: Paradoxes of imposing restrictions 

Parallel sessions IV

Session 10: Online information and children's rights

Monica Barbovschi – Chair

Laura Moorhead – Open access to biomedical information in regard to the public health of children and young people: a discussion of equity and policy

Camille Tilleul and Pierre FastrezHow can website design support young people searching information regarding their rights online?

Shulamit Almog and Liat FrancoWild playgrounds - social networks as lawless domains

Session 11: Public and private responsibilities for children's rights online

Alicia Blum-Ross – Chair

Leigh Campoamor – Digital technologies and child labour in the age of transnational corporate social responsibility

Tijana MilosevicTowards a rights-based self-regulatory framework: assessing the responsibility of social media companies in addressing bullying

Eva LievensEnding the shifting game: towards true responsibility for children’s rights in the digital age

Session 12: Conceptualising children’s rights in the digital age

Uwe Hasebrink – Chair

Rayen Condeza - Expectations of parents and teachers on the digital rights of adolescents in Chile

Anthea Henderson - “Rights and/or needs? Caribbean children and the digital age

Elvira Perez Vallejos, Ansgar Koene and Derek ​McAuley - iRights Youth Juries: Acting out digital dilemmas to promote digital reflections

Final plenary

Rapporteurs: Eva Lievens (Ghent University), Fabio Senne (Brazilian Network Information Centre), and Mariya Stoilova (LSE)

Chair: Sonia Livingstone (LSE)

The final plenary will offer some concluding points from the topics discussed during the conference. It will engage with several key themes: the interface between research with children and the wider legal/regulatory environment in terms of advancing children’s rights in the digital age;  the relation between research developed in the global North and research now needed in the global South, in terms of diversifying and deepening the evidence base; interdiscplinarity and multimethod approaches – where are the existing strengths in the field and where is theory or method in need of strengthening.  

Check this article about the pre-conference on Better Internet for Kids

The programme is available here

You can access the abstracts booklet here

Biographical notes of plenary speakers here