Children's rights in the digital environment

"How to better respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment is at the core of the new Recommendation adopted (…) by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. Building on international and European legal instruments, the text provides comprehensive guidelines for action by European governments". 

Recognising that children are entitled to receive support and guidance in their discovery and use of the digital environment, respecting the rights and dignity of children and others, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers issued a Recommendation on 4 July 2018, encouraging governments of CoE member states to: 

  1. review their legislation, policies and practice to ensure that they are in line with the recommendations, principles and further guidance set out in the appendix of this recommendation, promote their implementation in all relevant areas and evaluate the effectiveness of the measures taken at regular intervals, with the participation of relevant stakeholders;
  2. ensure that this recommendation, including the guidelines in the appendix, is translated and disseminated as widely as possible among competent authorities and stakeholders, including parliaments, specialised public agencies and civil society organisations, as well as children, in a child-friendly manner and through accessible means, modes and formats of communication;
  3. require business enterprises to meet their responsibility to respect the rights of the child in the digital environment and to take implementing measures, and encourage them to co-operate with relevant State stakeholders, civil society organisations and children, taking into account relevant international and European standards and guidance;
  4. co-operate with the Council of Europe by creating, implementing and monitoring strategies and programmes that respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment, and share, on a regular basis, examples of strategies, action plans, legislation and good practices related to the implementation of this recommendation;
  5. examine the implementation of this recommendation and the guidelines in its appendix within the Committee of Ministers and with the participation of relevant stakeholders every five years at least and, if appropriate, at more frequent intervals.

In appendix to this Recommendation, a set of Guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment were also issued, tackling a series of aspects such as: 

  • Access to the digital environment.
  • Right to freedom of expression and information.
  • Participation, right to engage in play, and right to assembly and association.
  • Privacy and data protection.
  • Right to education.
  • Measures to address risks in the digital environment.
  • International and national cooperation and coordination.

A press release is available on the Council of Europe website, along with the full text of the Recommendation.

The Council of Europe is also a Safer Internet Day supporter. In 2018, they celebrated Safer Internet Day (SID) by launching a revised edition of the Internet Literacy Handbook which provides practical advice and tips on how to navigate securely in, and seize the opportunities of, the complex online world. Aimed at families, educators, policy makers and young people themselves, the handbook helps users to cope with ever-increasing flows of information, to think critically about what is available online, and to make informed and safe choices.

Find more information on the Council of Europe.

Find more information on Safer Internet Day.

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