Unsurprisingly, the second day of the Paris Peace Forum (November 11) was dominated by the war in Ukraine. The Day of the 10th surprisingly focused on digital governance issues and in particular the protection of children online. A Charter for the Protection of Children on the Internet was signed by a number of governments and private actors in the sector. While France is positioning itself as a leader in this area, we looked at current regulations in Hong Kong. As a bonus, a list of useful resources to better protect your kids online.
Advances in child protection in France
That Charter for the Protection of Children on the Internet published 10 November based on the Christchurch Appeal model and methodology. As a reminder, in May 2019, after the Christchurch Mosque attacks (51 dead, 40 injured), France and New Zealand led 120 governments and organizations (private internet actors, NGOs) to engage together in the fight against violent and terrorist content on the internet .
The Charter for the Protection of Children Online, published on November 10th, covers the following topics: appropriate age to access content, cyberbullying, digital literacy, parental support, protection of privacy, transparency and moderation, with special attention to gender risks.
The vision described in the charter is based on a Online child protection laboratory, newly created. The role of this laboratory is to evaluate, promote and develop technical solutions on the subjects listed in the charter.
This initiative is in line with the call to action “Defending Children’s Rights in the Digital Environment” supported by several countries and NGOs at the 2021 Forum.
On November 10th, the committed partners are governments (France, Estonia, New Zealand), private sector companies (Amazon, DailyMotion, Meta, Microsoft, Alphabet, Snap, TikTok, Qwant)NGOs (WeProtect, raise children, contact point and e-childhood). Finally, a representative from the United Nations Children’s Fund got involved with UNICEF, which is already very active in this area and is the author of a charter. This primarily serves to protect the reputation of children, it is not based on the idea that children use the Internet and social networks.
For the Elysée yes
Breaking down existing silos between governments, civil society organizations and private companies operating in the digital environment
This requires a normative or even legal framework (under the responsibility of state actors), best practices (in the context of national education, family formation or the associative world) and design principles (technical issues carried out by private sector actors). .
Note that legislation on this issue remains a balancing act, while the constitutions of western democracies guarantee freedom of expression. The United States, for example, has not signed the Charter for the Protection of Children Online for fear of interference with this constitutional right. It should be noted that the United States implemented the law at the federal level in 1998 COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) about children’s online privacy.
France, with its law of June 20, 2018 on the protection of personal data, modified the “Informatique et Libertés” law to adapt it to the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulations (RGPD), which have been in force throughout Europe since May 25, 2018.
The Situation of Children and the Internet in Hong Kong
The subject is also a passion in Hong Kong. Last June, the security chief Chris Tang announced at a meeting Leg Co a state prioritization of cyberbullying. In fact, aftereducation officethe number of cases doubled between 2017 and 2022. This trend confirms the figures of the Hong Kong Ministry of Health, collected in response to questionnaires for several years. 2-3% of students would be victims of cyberbullying via forums, blogs and chat rooms.
Schools need to set up prevention strategies, alert channels and a monitoring mechanism, and training for teachers.
Billy Wong, Executive Secretary of the Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights, said that with the increasing amount of time children now spend online and the frailer ages at which they are exposed to the internet, cyberbullying is expected to increase. Finally, with the obligation to use LeaveHomeSafe In everyday life, including for children, mobile phones are obligatory and ubiquitous.
In Hong Kong, victims and known perpetrators of cyberbullying are often separated. We don’t use them “restorative justice”, i.e. a confrontation between people and the explanation of the effects. It brings neither comfort to the victim nor enlightenment to the perpetrator.
However, when it comes to cyberbullying, the impact is severe for several reasons: the internet allows people to act anonymously without fear of retribution, insults can be spread instantly and are almost impossible to erase, children often do not use the same platforms as adults (making trading difficult for adults), and finally, the internet is everywhere and the home is no longer a haven.
The government pointed out that child pornography is also on the rise.
Hong Kong does not yet have a specific cyberstalking law, but reference can be made to existing cybercrime laws [(Tort Law pour la diffamation, Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, ou encore Data Protection Principles (DPPs)]. That Legal Reform Commission working on a reform. The alleged trace is a South Korean-style law that requires platforms to post their real name online, with the option of a nickname, but the platform may have access to the real identity.
In Hong Kong, a society with a liberal tradition, there are many voices in favor of better education and protection of people instead of a law.
More information on child protection
Whether in France or Hong Kong, children and their parents navigate an environment where all types of content are accessible to all. If France is ahead on this issue (between GDPR law, awareness of the problem and working together on solutions that bring together all actors in this field), the French in Hong Kong must educate themselves and identify the resources available. (non-exhaustive list).
jeprotegemonenfant.gouv.fr, a website for parents of children aged 6 and over that offers “sex education content for freedom of expression between parents and children”.
Facebook group “Le Club des Parents Connectés by Meta” managed by FaceBook France, the e-Enfance Association, the Génération Numérique Association and the National Union of Family Associations
Qwant.com, a French search engine that respects privacy, without targeted ads, and Qwantjunior.com, the version for 6-12 year olds, available for Android and iOS