The digital environment was conceived as an environment for adult users. Not even its inventors thought it might one day be a place where childhood would be spent. Nor did they make any design concessions for child users. On the contrary, the utopian vision was that all users would be equal. And if all users are equal, then a child user is treated as if they were an adult.
In December 2017, 5Rights Foundation published Digital Childhood: Addressing Childhood Development Milestones in the Digital Environment, which sets out what we know about children’s development at different ages and the digital experience of children at those ages. It considers the needs of different aged children and young people in relation to the digital environment. This landmark publication was a starting point for many policy makers and researchers to consider how the design of digital services can be informed by the different needs of children at different stages of their development.