52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council
Panel Discussion on strengthening of legislative system in order to protect children in digital environment
Statement by Estonia on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries
10 March 2023
Thank you, Mr. President,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Estonia.
Children are considered to be the largest proportion of users of digital technologies in the world. Even though the online network provides them the opportunity to express, fulfil and be informed about their rights, higher engagement and self-presentation by children on various digital platforms also poses risks to children’s rights – from violating their privacy to online sexual exploitation and abuse in worst cases.
We are concerned that such violations that disproportionately affect children, are on the rise. Therefore, we believe that it is extremely important to continue taking concrete steps to guarantee children's privacy and confidentiality to better protect children from any harm in the digital space, which in the long run contributes to ensuring a healthy and safe childhood for them.
In order to achieve this, it is crucial to evaluate, update and put in place wide-ranging measures and best practices, with children’s rights at the core and the best interests of every child as a primary consideration. In the legislative review, it is necessary to include relevant stakeholders, such as experts from civil society, private sector and academia, and guarantee to children the right to be heard and have their views taken into account. Implementing key elements from the Committee on the Rights of the Child general comment No. 25 is also crucial.
Further attention should be given to private sector by better regulating their activities and ensuring compliance with their responsibility to prevent networks or online services from being used in ways that cause or contribute to violations or abuses of children’s rights.
I thank you!