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Children’s Rights and Technology in the Digital Age

In this day and age, educating and empowering all those that use technology to make informed and rights-based choices for younger and future generations is crucial. Digital technologies – such as artificial intelligence software, biometric recognition systems, and algorithmic information silos – have already shifted the dynamic of many homes, classrooms, and multimedia platforms, but is the child’s best interest central to these experiences? How does technology shape the minds and behaviors of the coming generations? Due to the rapid evolution of technologies, it is vital to continually analyse and hypothesise the impacts they are having or will have on children.

There are not enough questions being asked of those who are developing or allowing (by way of lack of regulation) these technologies to permeate both the public and private spaces. Furthermore, not only is there a wide knowledge gap in relation to children’s rights and technology, but there is a great disconnect between the users and the experts. Better educating the masses about how technology can positively and negatively influence children will create a more informed debate on critical next steps for how we choose to shape the future of our society.

This MOOC will take a deep dive into just how often children are exposed to these futuristic, and sometimes problematic, technological developments and investigate what that means for a vulnerable group that may not fully understand the implications – be they positive or negative – or meaning of consent. Through a human rights approach, this course will play a role in promoting a more ethical, human-centric, and accessible tech-infused future. It is critical that we call attention to this issue now, while we still have the ability to moderate technological implementation as it continually seeps into our everyday lives. We want to challenge the diverse audience of our MOOC to be critical consumers and informed advocates for children’s rights in the digital age.


Course Outline

The course is structured in five modules:

Module 1 introduces the main concepts the MOOC will address. Starting with an overview of children’s rights, it then moves to explain the key technologies of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and biometrics and how they impact children in unprecedented ways.

Module 2 focuses on children’s right to privacy and data protection, examining existing legal instruments, international recommendations, and examples of how technologies interfere with these rights in areas such as facial recognition, biometric data collection and advertising.

Module 3 delves into the linkages between early-childhood development and new technologies and examines the right to play in the digital age. It provides insights into the legal instruments and recommendations in this field, with a case study on smart toys research.

Module 4 explores what the right to education means in the digital era. A legal overview will be provided before examining examples of AI and facial recognition in the classroom in addition to positive examples of educational technology and their role in preparing children for the future workplace.

Module 5 investigates positive and negative developments in the field of new technologies and children’s right to health and safety, with particular focus on digital health and child online exploitation.

Lecturers and Experts

Coordinated by a team of researchers from GC Europe, the course features relevant actors from a multitude of perspectives on the topic, ranging from legal experts on privacy and data protection for children and researchers studying technology’s effects on child development to policy experts and activists working for civil society organisations, thus enabling participants to benefit from rich and varied competences, experiences and knowledge. Contributors include, among many others:


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course participants will have gained:

  • Knowledge about the developing international standards for the protection of the human rights of children in the context of AI & biometrics--concerning privacy, education, surveillance and more
  • Awareness of the latest research concerning how technology is impacting childhood development and what questions are still unanswered
  • Information on modern contextual situations, examples, and case studies from different regions of the world
  • Understanding of challenges and limitations in the current environment as it relates to research, regulation, and technological development with a human rights approach
  • The ability to identify some legal, political and social strategies to safeguard the human rights of children in relation to data protection and mindful technological integration
  • Knowledge of recommendations for families, businesses and governments to bring about change and improvements both at home and in society at large





How do I enrol in the course?

In order to enrol, please follow the instructions on our “How to Enrol” webpage. This will then lead you to the OpenEdX course page. Once you are there, you can start the enrolment process by clicking the "enrol" button.

Is there a selection procedure to participate in the course?

The course is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which means we do not select participants on any basis. Rather, we welcome anyone who is interested in learning more about the topic to enrol and participate for free.



I would like to know if the course is free or if some parts are to be paid

Our course is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which means all components are open and totally free for anyone.

Do I need to pay any fee to attend the course?

There are no registration or tuition fees.



Is the course accessible to persons with disabilities?

We want all participants in our courses to enjoy a great learning experience and we strive to always improve accessibility. Each week of the course includes one or two video lectures with accompanying transcripts and reading materials. The texts are in PDF format, work at low bandwidths, are printable and can be zoomed to the desired size. Some readings may include pages from accessible websites. This makes all of them accessible to those who use assistive technology software such as screen readers. Likewise, weekly discussions and module quizzes can be completed through our platform which is accessible, for example, to people who use speech input, keyboard accessible controls or text to speech tools. For more details please visit EdX Website Accessibility Policy.


Structure and content

Is there a schedule for the course or is it self-directed?

The course is self-paced so participants can study in their own time.


Certificate of participation

What does it mean “Audit-only”? Will I get a certificate?

Auditors can complete any or all the parts of the course at their own pace, but will not receive a certificate. Participants who want proof of completion can simply print the progress chart that they will find in their course page.


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