5c2fa081-7b83-4ad7-92d2-6e74971afff9 use anon w permission(1)

Digital Futures Commission

Putting children’s interests at the centre of the design of the digital world

What does good look like for children in a digital age? Realising children’s rights today means not only protecting their safety and privacy but also ensuring their rights to play, participate, learn and develop in a digital world. That’s our ambition.

Professor Sonia Livingstone

 


 


 

 

A collaboration with the 5Rights Foundation, this applied research project is working to put children’s interests at the centre of the design of the digital world. The Digital Futures Commission is an exciting research collaboration of unique organisations that invites innovators, policy makers, regulators, academics and civil society, to unlock digital innovation in the interests of children and young people.

Its ambitious research programme is guided by a group of Commissioners with expertise in how children and digital technology intersect. Our programme of work led by Professor Sonia Livingstone OBE during the three years of the Commission is focused on real world change for children and young people. We are focusing on three areas: play in a digital world, beneficial uses of education data, and guidance for innovators. Each of these work streams is informed by the voices of children.

More about the Digital Futures Commission

Our research agenda

Three work streams

We are focusing on three areas: play in a digital world, beneficial uses of education data, and guidance for innovators. Each of these work streams is informed by the voices of children and underpinned by work geared toward bringing about real world change for children.

Play

There’s something about children playing that seems to capture the essence of childhood and that the public greatly wants to preserve and foster for children growing up in a digital world. The qualities of play, especially what is often called ‘free play,’ are vital for children’s agency, freedom and development.

What does good play look like in the digital world? This is the question at the heart of the Digital Futures Commission’s work. We seek to cut through today’s anxious confusion by integrating insights from multiple sources of expertise to synthesise the value of play in childhood. Informed by public consultation, we evaluate opportunities to transpose the qualities of play into digital contexts and propose ways to enhance them.

Education Data

There is a growing reliance on education technology (EdTech) to deliver many aspects of school education and to further government and commercial interests in education related to data sharing. This growth in schools’ EdTech usage, supercharged by the COVID-19 pandemic, opens up ways for data from and about children to be processed for commercial reasons as well as for educational and other purposes, some of them in the public interest. At the same time, we are witnessing uncertainties around education data governance that complicate the risk–benefit calculations to be made by stakeholders. These can be linked to a lack of trust in both public and private sector management of children’s education data.

The aim is to explore current uses of student data in education settings to set out a child rights-respecting framework for data governance and practice.

Innovation

What if children’s rights were anticipated at the very start of digital innovation? Our work on innovation seeks to embed children’s best interests in the design and development of digital products and services through mapping existing and emerging rights-based and value-sensitive guidance. Combined with consultations with children, industry and other relevant actors, and tested through industry case studies, the outcome will be practical child rights-respecting guidance for digital innovators.

More about our work

Publications 

To reimagine the digital environment in the best interests of children and young people, we focus our research on three areas: play in a digital world, beneficial uses of education data, and guidance for innovators. Our outputs from each of these work streams are informed by the voices of children and underpinned by research aimed at realising real world changes for children.

View all publications

View our blog series

Stay in touch

We welcome expressions of interest in our work from all who wish to build the digital world young people deserve.

Sign up to our mailing list or contact us here.

The team

Our Commissioners

 

Twitter

5Rights Foundation 5RightsFound

NHS England has the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria to help procure secure and robust technology. ✔️🙂 A rep… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

yesterday

Reply Retweet Favorite

5Rights Foundation 5RightsFound

Bereaved families join Baroness Kidron in Parliament to back amendment to #OSB giving parents & coroners access to… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

2 days ago

Reply Retweet Favorite