Digital technologies are now firmly part of the daily lives of most Australian families, with 4 out of 5 school students owning at least one personal screen-based device.
Despite the many positives of digital technologies, the digital world was not designed to be safe and age-appropriate for children and young people.
Too many young Australians have had risky or harmful experiences online. For example, Australian children are at higher risk than the global average of being exposed to cyberbullying and violent or sexual content online, and almost two-thirds of Australian teens were exposed to risky or harmful content online in the past year, such as drug use, suicide or self-harm content.
We advocate for the right of all children and young people to be safe in all places where they live, learn and play – including in online space.
Our Digital Rights advocacy program advocates for optimal safety standards to be built into all digital spaces and devices.
We are guided by General Comment No. 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment, which was adopted by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2021. The General Comment recognises that digital technologies are becoming more and more important to children's lives, and that just as children have rights in the physical world, their rights should be upheld equally in the digital environment.
When governments create laws and policies about digital technologies, and when they interact with the digital and device industry, they should consider how their decisions will affect children's ability to enjoy their rights in relation to things like education, privacy, health, protection from violence and sexual exploitation, participation in culture and leisure, and freedom of expression, thought and association.
Over the last 12 months, we have advocated for children's rights online in relation to issues including:
We also advocate jointly with other champions for children's rights in groups including the eSafety Advisory Committee, the Child Rights Taskforce, the Community Council for Australia Senior Policy Managers' Network, and the National Office for Child Safety's Child Safe Sectors Leadership Group.