Nordic countries can lead the way in upholding children’s rights in the digital world – Part II

Nordic countries can play a leading role in implementing children’s rights as well as in enforcing digital regulation like the DSA or the AI Act: they can pioneer strong, coherent and balanced approaches to build a better digital environment for children, both at EU level and globally.

That was the message 5Rights Chair Baroness Beeban Kidron delivered in Stockholm on Safer Internet Day 2024 at the Ctrl + Rights Symposium, hosted by the Swedish Prince Couple’s Foundation and co-organised with 5Rights as competence partner, to discuss how the UNCRC and safety by design approaches can inform the enforcement of EU regulations like the DSA and the AI Act, and how these can in turn make the digital environment safer and more empowering for all children, by design and default.

In Stockholm, 5Rights Chair Baroness Kidron and Executive Director Leanda Barrington-Leach met among others with ministers, authorities, experts and politicians to define common principles and priorities for the implementation of international and EU law, notably the DSA, drawing on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child General comment No. 25 and international best practices for children’s privacy and safety, as elaborated in the Age Appropriate Design Code and the Swedish guidance.

5Rights has been working in Sweden as well as with other partners in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway to support regional cooperation on children’s rights in the digital environment. The UNCRC is fully transposed into law in Sweden, which is also home to a lively tech sector: the potential is enormous for the country to be a pathbreaker in making EU digital laws work for children as well as govern the digitization of education. The event was also an opportunity to present the shared Nordic Declaration that commits civil society signatories to promote the prioritisation of children’s rights in the implementation of European and domestic law for regulating the digital environment, ensuring that children can thrive in online spaces that are safe, designed and operated with their best interests in mind.  (coming soon)

In 2020 Sweden passed a landmark law to incorporate the UN Convention of the Child directly into national law and in 1979 it was the first country in the world to prohibit all forms of violence against children. This year, Sweden will co-host with Colombia the 1st Global Ministerial Conference on Ending Violence Against Children, which may include a landmark focus on digital matters.

Read the Nordic Manifesto