This work is based on an unexpected turn in the past year. Prior to this work was focused on how children used media in their bedrooms, living rooms and schools. This was also a correction to the American-centric nature of the literature, giving it a European focus.
A year ago, this work broadened, going beyond the European experience and translating the issue into the language of Children's rights. This occurred in the light of discussion of internet bills of rights around the world. However, these often ignore Children's rights.
There are a number of semantic minefields in this debate. How do we discuss the global south etc? Also, as we talk about technology and technological terms, how do we avoid technological determinism.
2. The opportunities this creates;
3. Does this add to risk of harm;
4. Effective policies and practices.
As access increases, so does risk. But risk is not the same as harm. Community, policy and resilience play a role.
The internet reconfigures the risk model. There is a complex relationship between risk, harm, opportunity and benefits. This trips up policy makers.
Are we seeing increased harm in children's lives? Many of the forms of harm we can measure are down in recent decades.
How are these ideas related. Are they things we can easily measure? These are complex related, but they are often reduced to very simple media discourses. There are a growing set of problems specific to children that are not understood.
The digital ecology is getting more opaque. Children often use services not aimed at them but at adults. Children in fact cannot enter into the online contracts that companies create. There is a working assumption that users are adults.
How and why does a particular discourse take hold over a society? We need an organising framework that can capture the complexity of this situation. Rights also allow for normative perspective.
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is prominent. Although ratified in 1989, half of clauses have a relevance to the internet. Organised under the three Ps: protection, provision, and participation.
A tension arises between the universalism of the convention and the specific of the local. This is especially true in the global north / south discussion. While there is greater internet penetraton in the north, more users online come from developing world countries. Furthermore, children make up a greater proportion of the population in developing world.
How children go online is also changing. Developing world countries have mobile first approach. Often used in a different way (phones are shared, for example. Access might be community based). There may also be strong generational differences.