United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific
Day 1 | 7 June
Children’s Rights and Responsible Tech in Asia-Pacific
Digital technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, facial recognition technologies and the Internet of Things have brought along previously unimaginable changes in the lives of children, and they already play a key role in achieving positive social and economic developmental objectives. There is also a well-established understanding that digital technology can help drive progress for all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and that it is essential to harness this potential to be able to reach the goals by 2030.
In East Asia and the Pacific (EAP), children and adolescents are among the most active and influential users of technology, enthusiastically engaging with new technology as it evolves, including social media, live streaming apps, and virtual reality games. Digital technologies provide significant opportunities for children and adolescents to access information, play, learn, communicate, and for civic engagement. However, it also poses unique threats to the well-being of children and adolescents, such as online sexual abuse and exploitation, threats of violence, exposure to age-inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and infringements of privacy.
The UN CRC (Convention on the Rights of the Child) Committee in its General Comment No 25 (‘Children’s rights in relation to the digital environment’) highlights that the business sector affects children’s rights directly and indirectly in the provision of services and products relating to the digital environment. Businesses should respect children’s rights and prevent and remedy abuse of their rights in relation to the digital environment. At the same time, states parties have the obligation to ensure that businesses meet those responsibilities.
Aligned with the UN CRC General Comments No. 16 and 25, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, this session aims to promote responsible business conduct in the digital environment and share tools and guidance for companies on developing or deploying digital technologies which respect and advance children’s rights and well-being.
About the session
This session will spotlight how tech companies play a crucial role in shaping the world in which children live through their actions, influences and command of resources. Drawing on global and regional projects and evidence, such as the UN CRC Committee’s General Comment No. 25, the RITEC project, the ASEAN ICT Forum on Child Online Protection, the OHCHR’s B-Tech Project, and the World Benchmarking Alliance’s Digital Inclusion Benchmark, this session will look at concrete ways that tech companies interact with children and impact their lives in the region. It will discuss some of the challenges as well as proven and potential solutions for how business can identify and address potential adverse impacts on children.
The session pursues the following objectives:
Share the latest evidence and knowledge on the role of the tech sector in impacting children’s rights and well-being both positively and negatively;
Introduce participants to global and regional guidance and frameworks for the tech sector in respecting children’s rights in relation to the digital environment;
Showcase global and regional initiatives which guide the tech sector in taking concrete steps for respecting children’s rights and advancing children’s well-being in relation to the digital environment;
Discuss the ways that the public and private sector can take action to integrate child rights consideration into their policies, decision-making and product/service design and development processes.
Panelists will reflect on the following questions in relation to the Asia-Pacific region:
What are the ways that business action or inaction impact children’s rights and well-being in relation to the digital environment?
What are child-specific considerations in the context of business, human rights and digital technologies?
What is the tech sector currently doing to respect children’s rights in the digital environment?
What can tech companies do better to advance children’s well-being in relation to the digital environment?
What are the main drivers to ensure responsible business practices with respect to child rights and digital technologies in this region?
What is the role of public policy and regulation for accelerating business action in respecting children’s rights in the digital environment?