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The Discussion Papers are signed pieces by researchers on current topics in social and economic policy and the realization of children's rights. They may discuss technical issues in a focused manner, or in a less detailed manner than Working Papers.

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Child Privacy in the Age of Web 2.0 and 3.0: Challenges and opportunities for policy

We live in an information society, where the flow of information in the virtual environment is unprecedented. Web 2.0 platforms – and recently Web 3.0 platforms and the Internet of Things (IoT) – represent an important step forward in enhancing the lives of both adults and children everywhere, by combining greater efficiencies with a wide availability of new tools that can boost individual creativity and collective production. This new environment has exposed adults and children to fresh challenges that deserve special attention, especially those surrounding privacy. The main objective of this paper is to address the challenges posed to child privacy online and the impact that these challenges might have on other rights such as freedom of expression, access to information and public participation. To do this, the paper first analyses the current (and foreseen) threats to child privacy online and the various approaches adopted by government and/or the private sector to tackle this issue. The paper also examines whether children’s perspectives and needs are considered in international debates on technology regulation, including in regard to the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’. It then contextualizes the protection of privacy (and data protection) in relation to other fundamental rights in the online environment, arguing that in most cases this interaction is rather positive, with the enforcement of the right to privacy serving to protect other rights. The paper concludes by proposing some policy recommendations on how to better address the protection of children’s online privacy. These objectives are achieved through literature review and analysis of legal instruments.
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We live in an information society, where the flow of information in the virtual environment is unprecedented. Web 2.0 platforms – and recently Web 3.0 platforms and the Internet of Things (IoT) – represent an important step forward in enhancing the lives of both adults and children everywhere, by combining greater efficiencies with a wide availability of new tools that can boost individual creativity and collective production. This new environment has exposed adults and children to fresh challenges that deserve special attention, especially those surrounding privacy. The main objective of this paper is to address the challenges posed to child privacy online and the impact that these challenges might have on other rights such as freedom of expression, access to information and public participation. To do this, the paper first analyses the current (and foreseen) threats to child privacy online and the various approaches adopted by government and/or the private sector to tackle this issue. The paper also examines whether children’s perspectives and needs are considered in international debates on technology regulation, including in regard to the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’. It then contextualizes the protection of privacy (and data protection) in relation to other fundamental rights in the online environment, arguing that in most cases this interaction is rather positive, with the enforcement of the right to privacy serving to protect other rights. The paper concludes by proposing some policy recommendations on how to better address the protection of children’s online privacy. These objectives are achieved through literature review and analysis of legal instruments.

AUTHOR(S)

Mario Viola de Azevedo Cunha
LANGUAGES:
Based on an evidence-focused literature review, the first part of this paper examines existing knowledge on how the time children spend using digital technology impacts their well-being across three dimensions; mental/psychological, social and physical. The evidence reviewed here is largely inconclusive with respect to impact on children’s physical activity, but indicates that digital technology seems to be beneficial for children’s social relationships. In terms of impact on children’s mental well-being, the most robust studies suggest that the relationship is U-shaped, where no use and excessive use can have a small negative impact on mental well-being, while moderate use can have a small positive impact. In the second part of the paper, the hypothetical idea of addiction to technology is introduced and scrutinized. This is followed by an overview of the hypothetical idea that digital technology might re-wire or hijack children’s brains; an assumption that is challenged by recent neuroscience evidence. In conclusion, considerable methodological limitations exist across the spectrum of research on the impact of digital technology on child well-being, including the majority of the studies on time use reviewed here, and those studies concerned with clinical or brain impacts. This prompts reconsideration of how research in this area is conducted. Finally, recommendations for strengthening research practices are offered.

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This paper sets out to provide a conceptual understanding of the gender socialization process during adolescence, its influences and outcomes, and practical suggestions on how to use this knowledge in the design of policies and programmes to improve gender equality.

AUTHOR(S)

Neetu A. John; Kirsten Stoebenau; Samantha Ritter; Jeffrey Edmeades; Nikola Balvin
LANGUAGES:
This study uses a mixed methods approach combining survey analysis of the predictors and associations with being bullied, with qualitative data to explore the context in which bullying occurs and the social processes that underpin it. Findings show that better data collection and increased resource allocation to bullying prevention are needed. The development and evaluation of different types of effective, sustainable and scalable bullying prevention models in low- and middle-income country contexts are priorities for programming and research.

AUTHOR(S)

Kirrily Pells; Maria José Ogando Portela; Patricia Espinoza Revollo
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Based on an evidence-focused literature review, this paper examines existing knowledge on raising adolescents in east and southern African countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Country selection was based on the availability of relevant literature and data. The vast majority of studies on parenting and adolescent development is based on research from the global north. This research sought to deepen understandings of family life, care practices and support networks in the east and southern African region so as to inform policy and interventions that seek to improve adolescent-family relations and reduce risk behaviours. An evidence-informed model for understanding the ecology of adolescent-parent relationships in the cultural and economic contexts of the region is provided. In addition, a framework for exploring contextually-relevant dimensions of parenting through research and practice is offered.

AUTHOR(S)

Rachel Bray; Andrew Dawes
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This paper argues that Internet governance bodies give little consideration to children’s rights, despite growing calls from international child rights organizations to address their rights in the digital age. Children have specific needs and rights and these are not met by current governance regimes for the Internet. As Internet use rises in developing countries, international Internet governance organizations face a key challenge in shaping the emerging models of best practice.

AUTHOR(S)

Sonia Livingstone; Jasmina Byrne; John Carr
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Globally the use of corporal punishment in schools is increasingly prohibited in law, yet in many contexts its use continues, even where outlawed. Proponents argue that it is an effective and non-harmful means of instilling discipline, respect and obedience into children, while others point to a series of detrimental effects, including poor academic performance, low class participation, school dropout and declining psychosocial well-being. Establishing whether corporal punishment has lasting effects on children’s cognitive development and psychosocial well-being has been hampered by a lack of longitudinal data, especially from Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

AUTHOR(S)

Maria José Ogando Portela; Kirrily Pells
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Tackling poverty and inequalities is now embedded within the mandates of governments and organizations worldwide. UNICEF has been a leader on this, and concern about inequalities has also been picked up in the debates surrounding post 2015 development goals.

CO-AUTHOR(S)

Paul Dornan; Martin Woodhead
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This paper analyses the different concepts of inequality, in particular differentiating individual, or vertical, and group, or horizontal, inequality, and adopting a plural approach to inequality, which involves moving beyond income to include some basic capabilities such as health, education and nutrition, and also inequalities in political power and cultural status.

AUTHOR(S)

Frances Stewart
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Tackling inequities in children’s outcomes matters both from a moral perspective, and because of persuasive social and economic arguments. Reducing inequity in children’s outcomes requires tackling structural and social issues.

 

Michael Marmot; Ruth Bell; Angela Donkin
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